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Letter: Council should reconsider Waughop Lake plan

Submitted by Don Russell.

This is not the only time that I have appealed to you to reevaluate your decision to opt for a $100,000+ alum treatment of Waughop Lake instead of the universally preferred and highly recommended removal of the years of nutrient polluted sediment laid down on the historic bed of Waughop Lake as a result of many years of the Western State Hospital discharging animal waste products into this Lake.  For a number of years since cessation of this activity Pierce County College has been inadvertently discharging human waste into this Lake as a result of failure of its sewage disposal pump out station.

Clearly the Lake has been polluted by State owned institutions and as such the State has an obligation to act to mitigate the sediment polluted condition of this Lake.

This is not what is happening. The City of Lakewood has assumed the obligation to address this situation with  an expensive, short term bandaid solution, that is, an application of alum.  Such an approach will merely delay and make more expensive the proper option of removing not only the State caused nutrient polluted sediment but also the tons of aluminum hydroxide that an alum treatment will add to the eventual sediment removal task.

If the Council’s objective is to restore short term safe beneficial use of Waughop Lake until sediment removal can be executed then I suggest that the City engage either Northwest Aquatic Eco-Systems or Aquatechnex to annually apply light dosage applications of a combination of a herbicide and a phosphorus inactivation product just as being done to control excessive aquatic weed growth and prevent harmful cyanaobacteria blooms in  other nutrient polluted sedimented lakes located within Lakewood city limits.  Such annual treatments would cost approximately one fourth the cost of applying the proposed heavy dosage of alum and would avoid adding tons of aluminum hydroxide to the pollution impaired sediment already in the Lake and be even more effective (in suppressing excessive aquatic weed growth) than a one shot heavy application of alum. 

By opting for this approach Waughop Lake would afford short term safe beneficial use to Park goers while the City pursues the correct long term solution for Waughop Lake’s condition, which is to remove the nutrient polluted sediment laid down on the Lake’s historic bed as a direct result of actions of State owned and operated institutions. 

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