Tenmile Lakes Watershed: Your Questions Answered by Mike Mader

Jun 19, 2012 21 Comments Print

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 starting with newest first:

Question: Is the Lake at a historic level for this time of year?

Tenmile Lake Basin Partnership (TLBP) has been monitoring the Lake level and has data for 2003 -2014. The only other source is John Kelsey, a Lake property owner.

This is the lowest level in our records for this time of year. last year at this time level was 10.89 msl.

Today the lake level is 9.7 msl and falling.

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.


Columns, Watershed

21 Responses to “Tenmile Lakes Watershed: Your Questions Answered by Mike Mader”

  1. Mike Mader - Tenmile Watershed says:

    Hi Minka,
    I am sorry to hear about your family’s experiences swimming in the canal. Boating regulations and enforcement is the Oregon State Marine Board’s (OSMB) responsibility and the Coos County Marine Deputy’s. Through Boater registration fees, the State supports Marine Deputies for Oregon Counties. I think Coos County has two Marine Deputies. I would advise you to call them @ 541-396-7827 or email @ http://www.cooscountysheriff.com/marine partol.htm. Tell them your situation and concern. You can also visit the OSMB website and become familiar with the specific regulations for Oregon Waterways. Maybe also have a “skier in the water” flag as required for those boats pulling skiers close by while your children are swimming and wave it like heck to get any boaters attention and alert them that swimmers in the water.
    Also, writing down the boats registration number, located on the bow of each legally registered boat would provide the deputies with important information.

  2. LakesideInfo says:

    Editors note: We are passing this question along for Mike Mader

    I was woundering if Lakeside info was aware of the water run-off that LSWD has been releasing into N. Ten Mile lake? For the last several months and most recently several weeks, They have been opening up hydrints from a pump station up the hill on N. Lake rd. The water then pours down into a culvert, travels under the road, then connects to a series of culverts that travel under my road and down into the N. Ten Mile. This became an issue when my culvert was cloged with trash from the road, and flooded my driveway with thousands of gallons of water. At that time I noticed a very strong odor of chlorine. After speaking with my meter reader he said they have been haveing issues with a pump station and something about getting properly working on the top of the hill. I asked about the odor, and he went on to say they had to put chlorine tabs into the system in order for it to be safe to dump into the lake. After speaking with my uncle who has owend properties here for years agreed this made no sense. Why would you have to treat drinking water in order for it to be dumped into the lake? And also why would they be having to do it so many times. Me and my fiancee have witnessed more the 10 times. I have started video taping it when ever I see it happens so often, and now have 6 videos. At times the water is an erie gray, and has what looks like fumes coming up from it. I then sent an email about a month ago to LSWD asking about the run-off. The meter reader I had spoke to befor called me and began to explain codes and levels. I asked if he could just reply to my email, and he said he was told not to. But that he would have his boss Marty respond to it when he got back into town. I thought it was odd he would call me but not respond to my questions formaly. On one occasion I seen the Sherriff floating around my boat house. And when I went out to greet him, I noticed suds all along the shore line and all around my boat house. He then asked if I was dumping my laundry water or washing my car. He told me one of his jobs was to protect the lake. I explained this was all coming from the LSWD and there run-off water. I had told him they had been doing it on and off for the last several months. But that it didnt always make suds like this. I could tell this concerned him, so inturn I felt even more concerned. And video taped the suds, that lasted the whole day and went on for hundreds of yards on both sides of the culvert, pouring into the lake. In my emial I wrote to LSWD asking why they had been letting out so much run-off I asked if they could explain the process and chemicals involved. On top of that my main concern was if it may be a health issue for my daughter or animals to come into contact with. I didnt get a response back in over a month. I then wrote another email this week asking if I should just send a formal letter to the board regarding these matters. Well I got an email back yesterday from LSWD, saying LSWD has the best surface drinking water in the state. And that they would not be responding to any more of my emails regarding this issue. Well this concerns me even more now. I have only lived in Lakeside for 2 years. Prior to that my water company would at times have to run-off water to purge the system, as they would say. They would send us a letter explaining when and where. They explained there may be a change in water conditions, but it would only be temporary. To turn on bath water and let it run for several minutes. They would also only do this maybe once or twice a year. Not more then 10 times in 3 months. And our water does change with the chlorine odor often. I have then spoke with Bob Main who gave me a number to an agency that oversees the drinking water for Oregon. When I spoke to them about this they said this was not normal. And that they had access to records to show levels and certian activity and the info regarding LSWD. They told me they were going to be contacting the people involved and get some answers, becuase it was not common for a water company to have to open hydrints that many times, in such a short time. She had also told me it sounded like they may have been having water condition issues and trying to get them back to normal. But that they are supposed to report levels to there agency an that even though there levels had been high, nothing was reported to explain why they would have to be doing this. I could tell she sounded concerned as she went on telling me about common practices. She also said its not common for the run-off to pour into a lake. As its is suposed to go into the sewage system to be treated. And that it seemed odd when I asked what was going on, I was told by LSWD they wouldnt address the issue specificly. And would not respond back to any more of my emails regarding the issue. Well she asuerd me they were going to be getting some answers and that they would get back to me and let me know. I just thought as lakeside info this might be of interest as I think there is something going on here that they dont want to talk about at all. And I would just like to know what is going on. My main concern was if this water that flows through my property could cause any health issues if my animals or daughter may come into contact with this run-off. And also could it be harmful to the lake? This has become an issue we talk about often amongst my family and now niegbors. And we all agree protecting the lake is up to every body. And that companies have been known to do thing outside of the rules befor. And we dont feel this is right. We are not allowed to dump thousands of gallons of chemical run-off into the lake, so how and why could they? Maybe Lakeside info could help us find the answer to these questions. I think its an issue that should be brought up. I wounder what others might think about it.


    Sean M.

  3. jivedokken says:

    Holy cow that was a long story. No kidding what is going on? Doesn’t surprise me though. Just a shining example of what happens when have corruption and incompetence in the city council and city agencies.

  4. Mike Mader - Tenmile Watershed says:

    One of the most difficult issues or situations for bureaucrats, local officials, and lowly government employees like me, is to identify real issues that need to be worked on and those that are neighbor to neighbor fights or citizen versus the utility providers. Over my 15 years working for the Lakeside community I have been challenged by this many, many times. I have researched Sean M’s complaint and it has no basis. Pay your water bill!
    And for Jivedokken, I request that before you blab about something you have not researched, stop and ask questions as well as keep your angry opinions (everyone’s got one) to somewhere other than this segment. This segment on Lakesideinfo is specifically for questions about Tenmile Lake issues.

  5. macduffdesign says:

    Hey Mike! A section of dock (10′ x 4′) that has been lodged along the creek since the last big storm we had last winter, just dislodged and went down around the corner by the sewer plant. I would be willing to bet that it will get caught up again where it narrows. This just happened about noon on Monday, Nov 5th.

  6. LakesideInfo says:

    There is a dock lodged in the willows and reeds on Tenmile Creek. It has the potential of causing the high waters to create more flooding by preventing the flow of water to the ocean.

    Who’s responsibility is it to remove the debris creating blockages?

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