The Great Bend Water Department has begun testing for nutrients at Veterans Memorial Lake which has, in the past, been plagued by toxic blue-green algae.
“So far, everything is looking pretty good,” said Utility Superintendent Charles Suchy. The results from the latest round of testing are not in, but the problem seems to be in check.
Suchy said the city tries to run tests after rains in order to track just what nutrients flow into Vets. They look for potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus levels, as well as e-coli. Some of this work is done in-house and the city contracts with an outside lab for the remainder.
“It helps us to know what we may need to do in the future,” he said. “We just want to stay ahead of it.”
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment uses a two-tier warning system for algae. First is a public health advisory which notifies public that a hazardous condition exists, asks that signs should be posted at all public access locations, indicates water may be unsafe for humans/animals, and discourages contact with the water.
A more serious public health warning notifies public that conditions are unsafe and water contact should not occur. All conditions of an advisory also remain in effect.
Vets had fallen under a warning at one point, upgraded to an advisory and is now not listed by the KDHE.
“We’re just keeping an eye on it,” Suchy said.
Algae blooms at the Vets have been an on-going problem at Vets for the past few years. In in 2010 the algae forced the closure of the lake.
The lake serves as a storm water receptacle and rarely discharges, making the concentration of nutrients much greater. Aerators were installed to keep oxygen levels from getting depleted.
Another source of the problem is the waste from the geese that reside in the park.
The algae can cause a number of concerns including production of toxins in the water affecting people, pets and potentially fish and shellfish.
The testing came up during City Administrator Howard Partington’s update on city department activities at Monday night’s City Council meeting. Other report highlights included:
• City Inspector Lee Schneider conducted final inspection on the new Golden Belt Cinema 6 theater.
• Fire Inspetor Mark Orth assisted the State Fire Marshall with inspection of Great Bend Regional Hospital.
• Members of the department technical rescue team participated in a two day state wide training exercises at Crisis City near Salina.
• Battalion Chief Stetting attended Barton County Fire Chiefs meeting
• Swept cemetery for Memorial day
• The flood control levee was inspected by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, but the report on that inspection has not been received. They city has done a lot of work on the levee and expects a good report.
• Helped with traffic control for June Jaunt
• Replaced 72 feet of cub in alley by new theater
• Started work on replacing Stone street between 17th and 18th streets.
• City Sanitarian: 690 year-to-date complaints, 42 new complaints (20 from citizens and 22 from staff), 66 complaints completed by citizens, 23 abatement notices sent, six abatements performed and nine cars brought into compliance.
• Officer Logan Hall graduated from Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.
• Chason Lueth was hired as a Police Officer.
• Officer Jefferson Davis did “True Lies” presentation for the women’s group at First Christian Church.
• Officers attended Combat First Aid training presented by medics from Ft. Riley.
• Assisted and provided support for numerous June Jaunt events throughout the community over the past weekend.
• Assisted with the recent NBC Baseball Tournament sponsored by the Great Bend Recreation Commission. This tournament drew approximately 30 teams to Great Bend.
• Park Department staff took second place at the June Jaunt Business Olympics this past weekend.
• The Wetlands at Great Bend opened on May 25. However, cool weather has had a limiting effect on attendance through the first week of the pool season. In fact, it didn’t even open Saturday.
• Work on the 2014 Annual Budget is underway. There are lots of activities and meetings in June and July relating to the budget.
• The first City Youth Academy class for 2013 will take place on Friday, June 14. The second is set for June 28.
• On May 22, Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Jan Peters took Mayor Allison and Partington to the Golden Belt Cinema 6 theater for a tour with Chad Somers and Dennis Cll, then to Southerland’s for a tour, and then to Papa John’s. “What a wonderful afternoon,” Partington said. Other stops to new businesses are planned for the future.