In our continual effort to inform our readers, Lakesideinfo.com is introducing a new feature on the website. It will be Q&A with Watershed Coordinator Mike Mader, directly handling your questions in a timely manner about the Lake. Questions will be moderated for content not related to the watershed.
We had queries about Lake water safety, we passed those questions along to Tenmile Lakes Basin Partners (TLBP) Watershed Coordinator Mike Mader. We thought the answers should be passed along to you. We will take them one at a time.
You may post questions in the comments section, watch for Mike Mader’s answers. We will get the Question and Answer started with the following:
Question: What does the sign on Tenmile Creek that reads “WARNING, DO NOT DRINK WATER. RECYCLED WATER” mean?
The signs are posted on City property that was utilized to spray treated waste water affluent during the summer months. With the recent wastewater treatment plant upgrade this area is only utilized three to four days in the summer, when the plant or the airport needs maintenance. The balance of this treated water is tested and legally sprayed on the Lakeside airport.
When Tenmile Creek levels are above seven feet, mean sea level (MSL) the city has an Oregon Department of Environmental Quality permit to place treated water in Tenmile Creek. The treated water is tested and only when it passes all the tests, is it allowed to enter the creek and/or sprayed on fields or the airport.
The Watershed tests for chlorine levels and other parameters once during the spring, once during the summer and twice during the fall, to ensure the city is within their ODEQ permit.
Question: What is the impact to Lake users of high toxin levels and algae problems that occur in the late summer months?
Tenmile Lakes Basin Partners (TLBP) Watershed Coordinator Mike Mader: Tenmile Lakes, is like 99% of the natural coastal lakes. The Lake has algae species, that at certain times of the year, usually August and September in Tenmile, can produce toxins. The watershed has been sampling the Lake since 1997. The watershed and project partners include Oregon State Departments of Health and Environmental Quality, (EPA) have been working since then to educate the public on concerns.
Lakefront owners should always properly treat their drinking water if it comes from the Lake. If, and when, toxins are identified and are at dangerous levels, the results are posted and there is a sign at the county park at the entrance.
Public media formats are utilized to get the word out to public users. The watershed, State, and City are spending lots of resources on this concern. Tenmile Lakes is one of the most monitored lakes in Oregon.
The death of the dogs on Elk Creek were from a different species of algae. the fish are okay to eat. No mercury testing has be done recently.
Bottom line: Treat your drinking water, and ensure your advised of any warning that will be posted. Again, all algae reports are fully posted on tlbp.presys.com. and other media outlets.
Question: What about ecoli in the Lake?
The watershed is the organization that does the water quality monitoring in Tenmile Lakes. TLBP does not monitor for ecoli. Tenmile is a natural lake with lots and lots of beaver, otter, and birds. And, yes, at the ends of some of the arms on Tenmile, farms ,with livestock. Best advise; treat your drinking water and use common sense.