Wichita Falls watching algae levels after water quality test

Published: May. 14, 2020 at 6:56 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Wichita Falls is on the lookout for blue-green algae growing in Lake Wichita.

Unlike green algae which is a plant, blue-green is a bacteria. It can be harmful to people that touch it and even kill animals that may drink from the lake.

“If you get enough rain and then you wash that material into the lake then the nutrients are provided for the algae to bloom,” utilities operations manager Daniel Nix said.

The key ingredients are phosphorus and nitrogen commonly found in fertilizers. Which is why Nix stresses to not over-fertilize yards.

“When it rains, it’ll just go down the gutter into the stormwater channel and now those nutrients that were good for your grass, are now in the water body,” he said.

Some that use the lake have already noticed a difference.

“I was out on the lake last week running around and I saw 3 or 4 fish out floating, which is a little unusual for this time of the year with how cool the water is right now,” Rodney Brown, owner of Larry’s Marine Center, said.

Brown says it’s nothing like the golden algae that grew back in 2012.

“Golden algae when it came along it affected all kinds of species and it killed them all,” he said

The city does not expect to take any major actions like shutting off the lake from recreation but will continue watching in case the problem gets any worse.

“So it’s just a matter of waiting to see what the climate does and watching that lake,” Nix said.

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