Seattle City Council Announces Accelerated Green Lake Algae Cleanup

November 20, 2014 8:36pm

Photo courtesy Jean Godden’s Twitter feed

Seattle City Councilmembers Jean Godden and Mike O’Brien announced today that the Council’s Budget Committee has recommended to fast-track funds for water treatment of Green Lake to reduce the growth of harmful algae, according to a city press release.

“The dedicated advocacy from Green Lake neighbors brought this issue front-and-center to Councilmembers’ minds. It’s thanks to them that we are stepping up the City’s treatment efforts to ensure a safe lake for summer swims and other recreation in 2016,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien.

If it passes a vote in the Full Council on Monday (November 24), the city will reallocate $300,000 for the new treatment schedule.  While good news for the neighborhood, park visitors may still be in for a wait before treatment will begin. The original schedule had water treatment to occur in 2017. It would be advanced one year so it will be complete by summer of 2016. This means that water quality testing and permitting would occur during 2015. The treatment itself would be scheduled to occur in April 2016. The press release notes that the Council and Parks Department are exploring other options to keep Green Lake’s waters open to swimmers in 2015.

The lake will be treated with a chemical called alum that reduces the phosphorus in the water on which the algae feeds. The phosphorus builds up from stormwater runoff and fertilizers, and when combined with warm weather, creates an environment for the blue-green algae normally present in the lake to reach harmful levels. The council reminds residents not to use fertilizers containing phosphorus, which are banned under a 2011 Washington State law.

“Green Lake is one of Seattle’s most precious gems and deserves our stewardship,” said Councilmember Jean Godden. “I am happy to have partnered with Green Lake neighbors and my colleagues to accelerate the cleanup.”

View the complete press release