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White Lake gets approval to resume treatment process

By Erin Smith

The town of White Lake has received a verbal approval to resume the alum treatment process of the lake. Town officials received the verbal notification to resume the treatment process at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

The alum application was stopped on Monday while State officials worked to determine the cause of a fish kill at the lake. Town Clerk Brenda Clark said the contractor, HAB Aquatics of Nebraska, did request a written statement from the State regarding the approval to resume the treatments.

White Lake Mayor Goldston Womble said that it is anticipated the treatment process will resume later this afternoon (Thursday).

A large number of fish washed ashore on Friday, May 4, and State officials traveled to the lake on Monday to collect water samples and dead fish for study in an attempt to determine why the fish died. Residents of White Lake have reported that fish kills are a natural occurrence each year.

A call to Bridget Munger, Public Information Officer with the Division of Environmental Quality, requesting further information was unreturned as of press time.

The town has been working along with water scientists for several years to determine the cause of discoloration of the lake’s water and to create a plan to correct the problem. As a result, the lake has been undergoing an alum treatment to lower the presence of algae and to reduce the amount of phosphorus in the lake. The alum bonds to the algae and phosphorus, taking them to the bottom of the lake. The treatment process was 50 percent complete when the state halted the treatment, according to scientists working with the town.

The treatment process, when it is completed, will cost the town $522,352. The town is also preparing to have a study done of the Hydrologic Flows and Nutrient Inputs into White Lake with the Bald Head Island Conservancy at a cost of $78,135.82.

The Bald Head Island Conservancy study hopes to pinpoint the source or sources of nutrients entering the lake.

When asked about the next steps, Mayor Womble said the town does not currently have a long-term plan in place. The alum treatment is designed to be a short-term fix and future plans for the lake will depend what is learned from the Bald Head Island Conservancy study, according to Mayor Womble.

Please continue to visit the website: www.whitelakealum.com to stay up to date on the treatment progress.

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