Submitted by Don Russell, Lakewood.
As noted in the above photograph the $420,000 City of Lakewood requested and Ecology approved March and July 2020 80 mg Al/L alum treated Waughop Lake is now experiencing its second fall season harmful cyanobacteria bloom (HAB). The species is Anabaena which is known to produce potent liver and nerve toxins. These toxins can kill dogs who ingest the lake’s water and harm people who inhale Waughop Lake’s cyanotoxin tainted aerosol droplets that emanate from the lake. You will know that this is occurring when you can smell the distinctive characteristic odor of a HAB.
Aluminum and sulfide polluted Waughop Lake is now going through a regular alum treatment altered seasonal algae response cycle. In the spring and early summer it turns a chartreuse green color as note in the left hand photo because of a green algae (Chlorella) bloom. During the summer months the water is turbid and darkens in color as a result of a second green algae (Coelastrum) bloom. These two green algae species are typically found inhabiting sewage treatment ponds. Waughop Lake it is now experiencing a harmful cyanobacteria (Anabaena) bloom and should be posted with prominent Warning signs to alert pet owners of the health hazard that it poses.
Unfortunately the 2020 alum treatment of Waughop Lake considerably changed its water and bottom sediment chemistry to the extent that it no longer supports a submerged aquatic plant population. This now deceased aquatic plant population used to provide over the winter months food for migrating waterfowl, as many of you birders have already noted.
Hopefully Waughop Lake, without further treatment, will recover from the adverse biological effect of its 2020’s alum treatment in the next several years or so. We’ll see.