Algae Survives Biologic Attack


A naturally occurring organic material that acts to tie up the growth of algae is still in the experimental stages in the smallest of the three lakes at Green Valley Park.

Payson Water Resource Specialist Karen Probert said Thursday that the town is trying to work with the manufacturer, Bac-Terra Fifco of California, to adjust the product, a blend of microbes custom-made for small lakes that is safe for plants, animals and aquatic life.

"What we've seen is that they have a good product and we're going to continue with this demonstration project," Probert said. "I think it's worked somewhat, but we're definitely not getting complete removal and that's our goal."

The Payson Water Department manages the lakes at Green Valley Park and has been using a natural product to try to control algae for two years, but a recent growing problem with algae prompted the department to seek a better solution.

The experiment began this spring with the first application of the product in the lake off Main Street, east of Green Valley Parkway.

People who lived around the lake complained that the product created an unpleasant odor when the wind blew in the direction of their homes. Others complained about how the algae seemed to be taking over the little lake.

Probert first talked about the experiment in July and said the town was working to resolve the problem.

She said at the time that a lot of lakes involved with the state's Urban Fishing Program had similar problems. The town installed aerators in all three lakes to put oxygen back into the water and continues to monitor the lakes for oxygen, pH balance and nutrients. Like some other towns, Payson attempted to use copper sulphate to rid the lakes of algae.

But over time, the copper sulphate accumulated on the bottom of the lakes. Eventually the accumulation would keep the water from being recharged into the ground and town staff turned to other options.

The cost to the town for the experimental year-long program is $2,500, but the cost for a long-term solution is not yet known.

"We started this in May," said Probert. "We have the option of not spending the whole time with it. It's still really early in the process. I want to wait before talking with (the company) about the long term and eventual cost to keep the lakes free of algae."

Probert said she would be happy to answer questions and talk to people directly about their concerns with the lakes and the algae. Those who want to discuss the matter can call her at 474-5242, extension 235.

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