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Lake Whatcom Water Quality Issues
The 2010 Lake Whatcom Montioring Programs annual report which is compiled by scientists at Western Washington University has documented significant problems in the lake for more than two decades. Thirteen years ago the lake was listed as an “impaired waterbody” under the Clean Water Act because of a lack of oxygen.

The lack of oxygen is caused by algae growth which is fed by large quantities of phosphorus. The phosphorus comes from the soils and hillsides, but also comes from fertilizers and animal waste. In the summer of 2009 the city of Bellingham had to restrict water use because there was so much algae in the lake which was clogging the filters on the city water pipe and making it hard for water to get through.

 
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European Ban on Phosphorus in Household Detergents - Phosphorus leaked into European lakes, streams and rivers leading to eutrophication - the overgrowth of algae which can starve fish and other plant life of oxygen. Phosphorus gets into groundwater mainly from fertilizers or animal and human waste, which is not addressed in the current proposal, but phosphorus does make up 25% of current domestic wastewater.


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