Excess phosphorous, algae blooms hamper water cleanup process
The Western Front
March 2, 2015
Pending approval, Lake Whatcom could see extensive cleanup efforts during the next five years that would cost $45.7 million.
Since 1998, Lake Whatcom was listed as an impaired body of water by the Washington State Department of Ecology. In a public meeting Wednesday, Feb. 25, the Lake Whatcom Policy Group confronted the pollution by sharing a new proposal to clean up the lake.
The lake’s impaired status is measured by a variety of target categories. Lake Whatcom was specifically labeled impaired for its deficiency in dissolved oxygen because of phosphorus runoff, causing problems for the water supply system and recreational users of the lake, according to the Washington State Department of Ecology.
Lake Whatcom is the source of drinking water for nearly all of Bellingham and at least half the county. Around 100,000 residents depend on it, according to the Lake Whatcom Management Work Plan.
Many drinking water sources do not allow any recreation in, on, or around them, Bellingham Stormwater Manager Bill Reilly said. Lake Whatcom is an exception and allows recreation….