Submitted by Don Russell.
The truth about the demise of Waughop Lake courtesy of Ecology and the City of Lakewood is told by a comparison of the lake’s water chemistry and its biology prior to and after the March and July 40 mg Al/L alum treatments.
In 2020 prior to the two alum treatments Waughop Lake’s water chemistry soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) concentration, which is the nutrient that fosters harmful algae (cyanobacteria) population growth was 0.000 mg/L; alkalinity, which is a measure of the ability of lake water to keep its pH around 7.0 (nether too acid or too alkaline), was 15 mg/L (CaCO3), aluminum concentration, which is a recognized pollutant, was 0.000 mg/L; sulfate concentration, which is a recognized pollutant, was 4 mg/L; and conductivity, which is a measure of dissolved mineral concentration, was 60 uS/cm. These concentrations determined the alum pretreatment biological (algae, aquatic plant, amphibian, fish, waterfowl) response of the lake.
The 2020 Waughop Lake water chemistry after the March and July alum treatments was SRP 0.000 mg/L; alkalinity was 10 mg/L; aluminum concentration was 0.532 mg/L; sulfate concentration was 194 mg/L; and conductivity was 578 uS/cm! This dramatic change in Waughop Lake’s post treatment chemistry had adverse biological effects. During the summer of 2021 Waughop Lake effervesced with toxic hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell) laced methane bubbles being released from the lake’s sulfur bacteria dominated bottom nutrient rich sediments.
The 2020 alum treatments induced water chemistry change had a dramatic adverse impact on the lake’s biology. Waughop Lake’s algae population changed from that typically found in a healthy lake to algae populations typically found in sewage polluted ponds, native aquatic plants no longer inhabit Waughop Lake, its pre alum application frog and turtle population have disappeared, its carp and bass fishery is under considerable stress, aquatic feeding migratory waterfowl no longer visit the lake, and the lake’s water clarity and chemistry is seriously degraded.
The truth of the matter is that despite Ecology, the City of Lakewood Council members and the Public Works Engineering Manager being told by many citizens in 2019 that the TetraTech prescribed alum treatment was unnecessary and if implemented would have an adverse chemical and biological impact on Waughop Lake’s water quality, Ecology and the City of Lakewood Council members approved the March and July 2020 alum treatments with devastating ecological effect.
The City of Lakewood Communications Manager wants you to believe that the unprecedented TetraTech prescribed, and Ecology permitted, alum dosage applied to Waughop Lake in 2020 was supported by numerous unnamed “experts” on lake water quality management.
Now you know the truth about the demise of Waughop Lake courtesy of Ecology and the City of Lakewood.