Many questions, concerns remain about lake water

The water quality issue at White Lake is troubling for so many reasons — not the least of which is that it is all coming to a head on the eve of the 40th annual Water Festival and just ahead of the summer tourist season.

It’s also been full of rumors, politically charged twisting of facts, back-room discussions and a myriad of theories — none of which have actually helped.

Our biggest concern is that few people — state officials, White Lake officials or water quality experts — have wanted to talk, regardless of how many times they were asked.

That also hasn’t helped.

Bit now that information is beginning to drip out of White Lake, there remains a number of facts and concerns that have been brought to us — by several individuals — surrounding the direction being taken with the lake’s water. A handful of those are:

1. High pH due to algae is not an indication of bad algae. Quite the opposite. High pH (above 10), within reason, results when there is an abundance of oxygen being produced by good algae.

2. If alum is used to make algae fall out of the water column, or kill it directly, then you stop the beneficial process chlorophyll provides by taking carbon dioxide out and putting oxygen in the water column. It’s the same thing as taking all the green things out of the terrestrial environment — or, simply put, like wrapping a plastic bag around your head. Simple third-grade science.

3. Multiple state agencies and experts have stated the algae that is present is not harmful. Just murky.

4. The murkiness in the lake and pH imbalance is an appearance issue. Natural systems would be addressed with natural fixes, not treated like a swimming pool. There is a reason fish can’t live in swimming pools.

5. Alum is typically a solution when drinking water is involved, not for natural system maintenance. And it does work — exactly as long as it stays suspended in the water column, which is a few minutes at the most. Gravity works well, too.

Here’s a statement we hear over and over when jury trials are going on … and it might apply here, as well: “With the right amount of money, you can find a expert to tell you anything thing you want.” But in this case, Florida is not North Carolina. Which begs more questions, like:

— It is widely known the state said it was not a harmful bloom, so who signed off what permissions and permits, and why, if it was not recognized as a problem by regulatory authorities? Or did they have them at all? Are the Florida applicators licensed in North Carolina?

While we would love point by point answers to these questions and concerns, it has so far appeared unlikely that will happen. But this is certainly no time for armchair experts or political pontification.

One last thing: Who thought it would be a good idea to hold a town hall meeting in White Lake about the lake water on election night? It merely solifies the thinking that town officials would prefer as little information get out as possible.

***

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Can someone explain the difference between Russian interference in our elections and allowing illegal immigrants to vote?” (Anonymous)