ST. CLOUD -- Have you noticed that Lake George in St. Cloud is a little greener, murkier and kinda smells? If so, you're not wrong and the city is working to improve the water quality.

"We determined that Lake George has what we call an internal phosphorus loading concern. So phosphorus, think of that as food, it's food for the algae. The more phosphorus in the lake the more food for the algae. Lake George tends to basically re-suspend the phosphorus that is in the lake sediments, lake bottom, in the water column for the algae to keep continuously growing, keep blooming and causing some of those reduced clarities, some of the odor and some of the allergy concerns we might see on the surface."


Noah Czech is St. Cloud's Stormwater Compliance Specialist. He says to improve the lake's water quality, the city has been treating the lake with an alum treatment.

"Alum is just really short for aluminum sulfate and what alum is, is it's a liquid product. It's the same product we use in our drinking water treatment facility. What it does is it actually makes the phosphorus that's in the water column and the lake's sediments unavailable for algae to grow."

So far, Lake George has been treated twice. The alum application is a common treatment and Czech says it's cost effective. To prevent phosphorus from getting into the lake or other bodies of water, Czech has some tips.

"The simplest thing is if you're mowing your grass, keeping your grass clippings off of the street, sweeping them up when you're done if you happen to get some out there. When fall comes around when you're picking up your leaves if you can clean up the gutter line or the closest storm drain catch basin next to you. All of that material has phosphorus next to it."

Also picking up your pet waste can help too.

Lake George has two more alum treatments scheduled this year.

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