If you’ve passed Donnelly Park recently, you might have noticed a stench in the air arising from the lake area. Turlock Municipal Services Director Dan Madden informed the members of the Turlock City Council at Tuesday’s meeting that the odor is coming from scores of dead fish due to a recent algae bloom.
The fish in the lake at Donnelly Park were not originally placed there by the City of Turlock, but rather through what Madden referred to as a ‘donation’ from Turlock citizens.
The algae that have bloomed on the surface of the water have blocked the sun from reaching the lower surface, which has resulted in the death of underwater plants and algae as well. As the algae and plants rot beneath the surface of the water, the oxygen within the water starts to dissolve as the decay from the algae devours it.
Madden reported that city staff have been removing the dead fish that have floated to the surface of the water to help lessen the odor. He also reported that the city would have to pump drinking water into the closed artificial pond system to stabilize the water levels, however, Madden stated that during the hot summer months, he would not be in favor of using drinking water to fill up the lake.
“We need to balance the resources that we have,” stated Madden. “I’m reluctant of pumping 2 million gallons or so of drinking water into the Donnelly Lake.”
“City crews in the Parks and Recreation and Public Facilities area, I’ve got to commend them as they’re working diligently to collect all the deceased fish as well as scrape up all the other debris and things that have been accumulating in the water.”
Madden stated that the city will continue efforts eradicate the problem, and that the process could take several weeks.