Huge algae bloom at Lake Hefner worries locals
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – People around Lake Hefner witnessed a bizarre and unpleasant site on Monday morning – a potentially toxic blue-green algae blooms surfaced in the main drinking and recreational water reservoir of the region.
“I thought it was a huge paint spill or something. It’s disgusting. I’ve never seen him so badly, ”said OKC resident Sam Cagnolatti.
“Pretty disgusting, pretty nasty,” said angler Chris Gibson.
In parts of the lake, a matte aqua blue of grime stretches several feet from the shore.
In other areas, the water is so thick and green that it looks like a diet smoothie.
“We have a bloom of blue-green algae. It’s one of the biggest we’ve had in the last ten years, ”said Leigh Ann Kitsmiller of the OKC Water Quality Department.
Basically there are billions of microscopic plants partying in the lake.
“When you have warm temperatures, when you have sunlight and you have stagnant shallow water, there is a potential for them to bloom,” said Josh Campbell of OSU-OKC.
Experts say fertilizer runoff from recent rains has also contributed.
They say there are many types of blue-green algae in lakes – some are poisonous, some are not.
So what does this mean for our drinking water?
“We don’t draw water from the surface. We are drawing water to a depth of 20 feet, there are different screens at the intake tower, ”Kitsmiller said.
And this water is then treated in a factory to kill any biological threat.
The city says that currently the boats are depositing chemicals designed to kill algae but still safe for the environment and citizens.
“Yeah, that’s pretty disgusting because it comes back to your lure and all that,” said OKC angler Donald Terry.
As for recreation at the lake, the authorities say to avoid contact with water.
Swimming is already illegal at Lake Hefner.
They also say to keep animals from approaching water, as drinking it can be fatal for them.
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Experts say there are no hard and fast rules for eating fish that come out of the dark, but …
“Prevention is better than cure,” Campbell said.
Experts say the chemicals should bring down carpets in 2-3 days, but with rain this week and hot weather next week, flowers could come back soon.
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