Res­i­dents de­cry lake de­cline

The Press - - News -

A Golden Bay lake has be­come an unswimmable, con­tam­i­nated mess and res­i­dents say stormwa­ter from a nearby dairy farm and hous­ing is to blame.

For the past two sum­mers sig­nif­i­cant al­gal bloom, or cyanobac­te­ria, has been in­creas­ing in Lake Kil­lar­ney, nes­tled in a re­serve be­hind Com­mer­cial St near the town’s cen­tre.

Since 2004 stormwa­ter from neigh­bour­ing farm­land and res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties has been di­verted into the lake.

Resident Dave Kennedy said the lake was ‘‘clear blue’’ when he shifted there 30 years ago, but these days it was of­ten a ‘‘murky brown’’.

‘‘I think it’s only since they di­rected the stormwa­ter into the lake that it’s started caus­ing the harm,’’ he said. ‘‘Our kids used to swim in it, but you wouldn’t like to now.’’

While sed­i­ment anal­y­sis is due next month, Tas­man Dis­trict Coun­cil (TDC) re­sults to date re­veal a ‘‘sig­nif­i­cant’’ nu­tri­ent and or­ganic con­tam­i­na­tion.

Takaka res­i­dents bor­der­ing the re­serve are in­creas­ingly con­cerned about the dis­coloura­tion and po­ten­tial ef­fects of the al­gal bloom on ad­join­ing prop­er­ties.

John Lewis said the lake was still very blue when he moved there five years ago, but in the past few years he had no­ticed the dis­coloura­tion in­crease dur­ing the sum­mer months and af­ter rain.

‘‘You wouldn’t like to stick your toes in there now,’’ he said.

Lewis is tak­ing reg­u­lar wa­ter sam­ples and pho­to­graphs for the coun­cil, whose en­gi­neers are try­ing to solve the prob­lem.

He said the con­tam­i­na­tion was com­ing from the coun­cil-owned pipe, which was drain­ing from a sump on the ad­ja­cent dairy farm pre­vi­ously owned by Fon­terra, and into the lake.

Al­gal blooms are typ­i­cally the re­sult of a build-up of nu­tri­ents and need warmth to grow. An­other po­ten­tial source was from the leaves of de­cid­u­ous trees, he said.

Dur­ing heavy rain sev­eral weeks back, his wife Anne Lewis said she no­ticed wa­ter com­ing out of the drain was ‘‘the colour of mud’’.

TDC spokesman Chris Choat said it had ap­plied for En­vi­rolink fund­ing to get ad­vice on de­vel­op­ing a more com­pre­hen­sive plan ‘‘to in­form us’’ and for re­me­dial op­tions. ‘‘It’s not toxic at this stage, but we would ad­vise peo­ple to avoid con­tact with the wa­ter.’’

PHOTO: STUFF

Stormwa­ter and runoff from a neigh­bour­ing farm and res­i­den­tial area have turned Takaka’s Lake Kil­lar­ney into a dis­coloured mess.

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