June 30, 2023
Treatment of Waughop Lake successfully concluded this week. Prior to treatment visitors who walked the paved path around the lake could smell the algae from the water. Now the smell is gone. The water clarity is also dramatically improved. Before treatment visibility into the lake was only 0.5 meters deep. After the final treatment Thursday, the clarity improved to 2.4 meters. People can now see to the bottom of the lake.
Throughout the week, as treatment was administered, fish and birds maintained their normal activities at the lake. Fish were jumping. Birds were moving in and out. Osprey were hunting. The improved water clarity makes it easier to spot fish in the lake – a win for the birds of prey!
The treatment is safe for the fish in the lake and animals and plants around the lake. There were no reports of dead fish, animals or plant life from this treatment.
Before treatment, the level of phosphorus in the lake was at a level that could result in potentially hazardous algae blooms. Waughop Lake has a history of toxic algae blooms resulting in the issuance of health advisories by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.
Protection of the lake is a priority for the city, which is why the Lakewood City Council approved a treatment plan to reduce phosphorus levels. Similar treatments are done in other regional lakes like Seattle’s popular Green Lake.
Two treatments were done in 2020. The most recent treatment is the third authorized treatment of the lake under the city’s state Department of Ecology Aquatic Plant and Algae Management general permit.
The city worked closely with Ecology on its treatment plan and will complete all required testing of the lake to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment. The city will continue to monitor the lake on an on-going basis through Spring 2024.