Salem smelly pond problem resolved for now

The algae present in the pond comes and goes with rainfall and the seasons

The duck pond in Salem is free of algae now.

SALEM, Ohio (WYTV) – The Salem parks commission met Wednesday to address concerns about the duck pond at Waterworth Memorial Park.

Anyone can see that the pond, which was filled with algae blooms just last month, is looking better. Now, the algae is mostly on the shoreline. The cleanup can likely be attributed to heavy rainfall over the past week.

The commission had the water tested in 2014 by the Columbiana Soil and Water Conservation District and the report concluded that the pond is host to green planktonic algae, which, when in full bloom, can cause the water to look like pea soup.

District Administrator Pete Conkle said when it rains, the pond collects runoff filled with nutrients from yard fertilizer. The extra nutrients allow an abundance of blooms to grow and as the pond warms, reproduction increases.

Planktonic algae is common and botanists with the Ohio State University Extension Office say it’s also an important part of the pond’s food chain.

Rain can dilute the mixture and disperse the algae. When the pond cools in the fall, the algae will clear again.

There are several ways to reduce or prevent the algae blooms. An aeration system can help cool the pond and incorporate oxygen into the water, but that system could increase the odor.

Chemicals can also reduce the algae blooms, and dredging is another option but can be expensive and create a deeper water structure, which could be a safety hazard.

“We don’t want to use a chemical in there,” said Parks Commission President John Panezott. “It will kill the fish, it will kill the frogs, it will kill the turtles.”

Mike Fromm lives right next to Waterworth Park. About 25 years ago, he worked for the excavating company that helped build the duck pond.

“Fresh water needs to flow in there, some way to get fresh water in there,” he said. “Get that water in, put an overflow in, let the other water run out.”

In 2009, the department did look at piping water from a nearby stream into the duck pond. That may be the ticket to keeping the algae at bay.

“I feel for you and the community, as far as wanting fresh water to come in, but we’re doing what we can,” said Salem Parks Foreman Jim Grimm.

A few neighbors attended the parks department meeting Wednesday evening, asking about a solution that would keep the algae from coming back.

“It was a nice attraction at one point in time. People don’t like to go in there when it’s nasty,” Fromm said.

The parks commission says that if volunteers want to help get running water into the pond, the commission can make it a priority.


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