Mar 22, 2021

Lake Lanier Levels of Chlorophyll Impact Odor & Taste of Drinking Water

Lake Lanier had its highest recorded levels of chlorophyll in 2019 and in 2020 levels still exceeded limits set by Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division

lake lanier water

The Chattahoochee Riverkeeper collected water samples at Lake Lanier that showed high levels of chlorophyll, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Too much algae can impact the smell and taste of water even after treatment, which raises the cost of treating drinking water and can lead to customers paying a higher water bill, reported The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Millions of people get their drinking water from Lake Lanier. 

Lake Lanier had its highest recorded levels of chlorophyll in 2019 and in 2020 levels still exceeded limits set by Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division, according to The Chattahoochee press release. The levels over the past two years are the highest they have been since the EPD started testing Lake Lanier in 2000.

According to the press release, the pollution comes from factors including storm water runoff from fertilizers used on lawns and farms, treated sewage discharges, failing septic systems and clogged sewer pipes from improperly disposing fats, oils and grease.

“All these things may seem minor in nature, the mentality that, ‘Putting fertilizer on my lawn isn’t a big deal,’” said Dale Caldwell, headwaters director of Chattahoochee Riverkeeper to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Multiply that by thousands or millions (of people) and you start to have a significant impact.”

The Chattahoochee Riverkeeper is working with local governments, utilities and other stakeholders to address the problem, according to The Chattahoochee press release. This includes meeting in the spring to address a 2018 federal cleanup plan to improve water quality.

CRK’s annual Lake Lanier monitoring program is part of The Clean Lanier Equation.

Residents living in Lake Lanier’s watershed are advised to help the issue by limiting the amount of fertilizers they put on their lawns, routinely maintaining their septic systems, and not pouring fats, oils, and greases down the drain.

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