ALBERT LEA, Minn. (KTTC)- One look at Fountain Lake in Albert Lea and you can see green thanks to large amounts of algae. The city plans to fix the problem with chemicals, which has some wondering if it's the proper treatment method.
As the Fourth of July approaches, Albert Lea city officials want Fountain Lake looking as pristine as possible, but the large amount of algae is making that task more difficult than usual.
"Um, it's really gross. Green, and bad," says Max Brick of Albert Lea.
Max's friend, Nathan Wallace, thought briefly about going for a swim.
"I kind of don't want to swim in it."
Thanks to proper conditions in the spring, algae is growing at significant rates in Fountain Lake, prompting the city to take action.
"We haven't had the conditions or the algae outbreak in the past three years that we've had this year," explains Jay Hutchison, the director of the Parks and Recreation department for the City of Albert Lea. "We've just had the scenario this year with the early heat and we haven't had a large rain or amount of rain that would generally flush the lakes."
Boaters, swimmers, fisherman and anyone who interacts with the lake is noticing the problem.
With the council's 4 to 3 decision Monday night they will be putting copper sulfate into Fountain Lake, getting rid of the green hue temporarily. But even with those benefits, there are still concerns.
"Well, I just don't like chemicals for any purposes," says Shari Klatt of Albert Lea. "It might help clean up the lake but I don't like the use of chemicals for cleaning up anything. I wish there was a more natural way to do it."
Hutchison has read up on studies from both sides of the argument, and has come to fully understand the pros and cons of chemical treatment.
"There's no real immediate danger with these chemicals to anything, but there's been studies both ways that show that it's not good for the ecosystem of the lake in the long run and/or it doesn't do anything to the ecosystem. So, there's kind of studies showing both."
If the close council vote is any indication, the decision may come with some push-back, but it is all in an effort to clear up a rather murky situation.
Copper sulfate is the more common method of eliminating algae issues in lakes and ponds, and the city hopes to apply the chemical within the week.
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