Vaseux Lake residents concerned about lake water quality | Penticton News | iNFOnews

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Vaseux Lake residents concerned about lake water quality

Vaseux Lake looks pristine on a cold winter day, but shoreline residents are concerned the water quality of lake is deteriorating.
January 04, 2017 - 8:00 PM

PENTICTON - Residents living along the shoreline of Vaseux Lake met with regional district officials last month to express their concerns about the deteriorating quality of the lake’s water.

Sundial Road resident Ron Worth has lived on its shoreline for 40 years and says he's never seen milfoil as bad as it has been in the last two or three years.

“On days when there is a north wind, you can’t get to the water,” he says. A work party hauled 10 trailer loads of milfoil to the dump in one day last summer, and Worth noted two fish die-offs last year involving salmon and perch.

“Bales and bales of milfoil blow down the lake when a north wind blows, and the north end of the lake is an island of dirt, silt and weeds. Our biggest concern is the lake’s water quality and its ability to support fish,” he says.

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen Engineer Liisa Bloomfield attended a meeting with residents of the lake along with Electoral Area D Director Tom Siddon and Area C Director Terry Schafer to explain the workings of the Okanagan Falls Wastewater Treatment Plant, which was commissioned in July, 2013.

“The problems being experienced in Vaseux Lake were originally identified in the 1970s,” she said earlier this week in a telephone interview.

“The lake was identified as a problem lake for algae and buildup of excessive nutrients. It’s always been like that,” she said, adding the fact that it has worsened in the last few years is coincidental to the startup of the Okanagan Falls treatment facility.

“It’s the nature of milfoil to spread if left unchecked. Last year the surface temperature of the lake was 24 degrees, and with the lake’s lowest point at 27 metres, it creates ideal conditions for milfoil to grow,” she said.

The regional district will be applying for Okanagan Basin Water Board grant funding in February for resources to study the issue further in an effort to identify sources feeding the lake.

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