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Alum a Temporary Solution for Toxic Algae
Acknowledging that treating polluted Waughop Lake with alum is only a Band-Aid solution, the Lakewood City Council on Monday nonetheless accepted a plan that recommended the treatment as a first step in killing toxic algae in the Fort Steilacoom Park lake.

Council members said the city now can’t afford the preferred solution to the lake’s problems, dredging. That solution could cost up to $15 million. Treating the lake with alum to temporarily eliminate phosphorus in the water that feeds toxic blue-green algae would cost roughly $250,000.

Waughop Lake advocates Tom McClellan and Don Russell have told the council the alum treatment will only buy a few years’ time. They say alum will trigger explosive growth of aquatic weeds in the lake, a problem that itself will require an extensive treatment regimen to control.


 
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Restoring Native Vegetation - Lake Conroe has a volatile history of aquatic vegetation management. Hydrilla infested the reservoir soon after the reservoir filled, resulting in coverage of approximately 10,000 acres by the early 1980’s. To control hydrilla, large numbers diploid grass carp were stocked. Grass carp not only controlled hydrilla, but also eliminated most other aquatic vegetation in the lake and continued to inhibit plant growth into the late 1990’s.


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