Great Bend officials would like to do something about the algae-laden water at Veterans Lake, but they don’t have many suggestions that the city can afford — in more ways than one.
The issue was raised again at the Great Bend City Council meeting Tuesday night, and Human Resources Director Terry Hoff said it’s true, that state officials have listed Vets Lake, along with three other public lakes in the state, as having high green algae content.
There are differences over the last warning from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, however, Hoff noted. And that is due in part to the action the city has already taken.
The low water level isn’t helping this year, nor is the extreme heat.
On the other hand, as Hoff noted, the aerators the city installed — they can be seed percolating in the center of the lake — is keeping oxygen being pumped into the water, and that is helping to keep the fish population healthy. “The loss of fish has been nonexistent,” Hoff said.
And the warning from KDHE this year did not urge the public to refrain from fishing. It only suggested they wash any fish well before it is ingested.
One of the problems is that there are only so many things that can easily be done to combat green algae, if the conditions are right.
“I honestly don’t have an answer. It continues at a very high level.”
Councilman Randy Myers suggested that the city seek more expert input and Hoff said he will do that.
Myers also asked if dredging the lake would help solve the problem.
It was noted that would be expensive in more ways than one.
It would, first of all, cost a lot of money.
That’s not the only problem, however. Mayor Mike Allison urged that dragging all the muck out of the bottom of a sand pit as old as Vets Lake creates some very disgusting problems, such as where to take the material that is removed, and how to move it out of town without disgusting the whole town in the process.
City Administrator Howard Partington recalled the city tried dredging one of the small ponds at Brit Spaugh Park, and it was a memorable mess. “We did it once at Brit Spaugh and it was a nightmare.”
Hoff will continue to search for expert advice and in the mean time, the city will continue to use the aerators so it won’t have fish kills.