One of these days soon Fort Steilacoom Park goers will witness the beginning of the demise of Waughop Lake as 8 large tanker trucks roll up to the shore line of Waughop Lake, unload their toxic cargo of chemicals onto a barge that will then discharge 48,826 pounds of toxic soluble aluminum and 109,730 pounds of sulfate into the lake. The sulfate will subsequently be chemically transformed into toxic hydrogen sulfide as a result of its exposure to Waughop Lake’s oxygen depleted bottom waters and nutrient polluted sediments.
Whereas the City council members have received numerous pleas from Lakewood and surrounding area citizens to not allow this Ecology sanctioned chemical pollution of Waughop Lake to take place, Council has instead elected to follow the advice of City staff and its hired (for $94,720) pro alum treatment consultant (Tetra Tech). The City’s hired alum applicator (HAB) will be paid $326,673 to discharge this toxic chemical brew into Waughop Lake at a total combined Waughop Lake alum treatment cost of $421,393. Ironically, the funds that will be used to pay for this alum treatment will be provided by Lakewood and Pierce County private property owner surface water management and flood control zone district ratepayers, not by the two state owned institutions (Western State Hospital and Pierce College) that caused the nutrient pollution condition of Waughop Lake’s bottom sediments.
It is interesting to note that similar size Wapato Lake was alum treated in 2017 under the supervision of a different alum treatment consultant Herrera (paid $31,544) using the same HAB applicator (paid $96,303) that the Lakewood City staff will be using for the Waughop Lake alum treatment. The total combined cost for the Wapato Lake alum treatment was $136,556.
The City of Lakewood paid Brown & Caldwell $200,000 to develop the 2017 Waughop Lake Management Plan, This Plan stated that the best management practice to restore the safe beneficial recreational, aquatic life and aesthetic enjoyment use of Waughop Lake is to remove the layer of nutrient polluted sediment laid down by 65 years of Western State Hospital’s discharge of slaughtered animal waste products, manure and human sewage and 40 years of Pierce College’s intermittent discharge of human sewage into Waughop Lake. This Plan stated that should funding for sediment removal be unavailable, then a $210,000 alum treatment could be considered to temporarily mitigate one effect (harmful cyanobacteria blooms) of the existence of this layer of nutrient polluted sediment.
City staff, without challenging the City’s two consultants’ wildly divergent cost estimates for removing the layer of State institution caused nutrient polluted sediment from Waughop Lake, advised City Council that the sediment removal best management practice option was simply unaffordable. Staff advocated and City Council approved Tetra Tech’s prescribed $421,393 alum treatment plan that has a price tag twice that of B&C’s prescribed alum treatment plan and 3 times that of the cost to implement the 2017 Wapato Lake alum treatment plan.
Now you know the rest of the Waughop Lake story.