August 21, 2018

2016 West Point Lake Monitoring Results Within Acceptable Standards

Hannah Bradford, CRK’s Watershed Protection Specialist, on patrol on West Point Lake.

Hannah Bradford, CRK’s Watershed Protection Specialist, on patrol on West Point Lake (Photo: CRK)

(Troup County, GA) — The quality of water in West Point Lake in 2016 met state standards according to the results of Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s (CRK) annual water monitoring program.

Between April and October of this year, CRK devoted one full day out of every month to collect water samples from the lake at three separate locations — one of which is located at the drinking water intake for the City of LaGrange.

The samples were then analyzed in accordance with state approved protocols for chlorophyll-a — an important indicator of the lake’s health. The results of each month’s samples are averaged to develop a single value to compare to the state standard.

Nutrients concentrated in large amounts from raw or partially treated sewage, fertilizers and other non-point sources can result in algal blooms, deplete oxygen in the water and cause odor and taste problems in treated drinking water. In extreme cases, nutrient pollution and excessive algae can cause fish kills.

Because of the harm that excessive algae can cause, the state has developed limits for the amount of algae in West Point Lake.

The annual average chlorophyll a value should not exceed 24 p.g/L at the LaGrange water intake.

In the 1980’s, chlorophyll a seasonal averages were as high as 44 p.g/L and causing dangerous and un-slightly blooms of algae. In 2016, however, average chlorophyll-a levels did not exceed 16 µg/L.

Henry Jacobs, CRK’s Middle Chattahoochee Outreach Manager, says “This is great news for everyone in the community because that is where our water comes from — the water that sustains us, our homes and our businesses.”

This continues more than a decade-long trend of improvement in the health of West Point Lake; a development due in part to CRK’s lawsuit against the City of Atlanta in 1997 that led to an investment of over $2 billion dollars by the city to upgrade its stormwater and sewer infrastructure.

As a result of these improvements, the volume of sewer overflows in Atlanta has been reduced by 99% and West Point Lake is much cleaner today than it was 20 years ago.

Thanks to the support of the City of LaGrange, Highland Marina Resort and individual donors, CRK is able to conduct nutrient monitoring annually on West Point Lake.

For more information about Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, water monitoring and how to support their efforts in 2017, please visit www.chattahoochee.org or contact Henry Jacobs at hjacobs@chattahoochee.org.

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