As noted in the "The HOA" tab of this website, monthly Board meetings are usually open to members, and are held the 4th Thursday of each month. For September, the Board meeting has been moved to Friday, 9-25-2020, at 7:00pm at PLBC offices on south beach.
9-18-20: Tacoma Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) notified us that the lake is no longer closed, however a caution level advisory is in place. Please visit TPCHD for definitive guidance on caution levels, but basic guidance is to not swim into algae clouds, do not drink the water, bathe after swimming and do not let pets drink from the lake.
9-9-20: We were notified by Tacoma Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) that the sample taken on this day looked very good, and given the clarity of the water, it was not necessary to actually test in the lab. We have another test coming next week, and if this one is clear or when tested below the 2,000 micro grams level, the lake will reopen to "Caution" level.
9-4-20: We were notified by Tacoma Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) that Palmer Lake should be closed for swimming due to high toxic algae levels. Signs have been posted at both ends of the lake indicating the lake is closed. According to TPCHD the lake will be closed at least 2 weeks. It will be tested weekly, and after two weeks of toxic algae below their standard, it can move to a Caution level, and swimming will be allowed.
TPCHD routinely tests the water quality of Palmer Lake. On 8-25-20 they tested the water, and on 8-26-20 let us know we should post caution signs, which were posted same day at both ends of the lake. The lake was not closed, but everyone was warned to avoid coming into contact with the algae, drinking the water, etc.
On 8-31-20, TPCHD tested the lake again, and received the laboratory results yesterday, and notified us today that the lake should be closed. The test results show 2108 micro-grams/liter levels of toxic algae. Clearly from last week to this week, the algae "bloomed" and increased it's level.
According to TPCHD, toxic algae routinely occurs in Washington lakes, and it "blooms" from time to time. TPCHD notes that there is a lack of scientific agreement if the chemical treatment we apply annually (which we applied this spring) really has an impact on algae. It can reduce the nutrients that algae feed on, but is questioned as to if it "kills" algae.
About two weeks ago the Palmer Lake overflow drainage system was completed. There were two key objectives in putting in this system - 1) Restore the natural drainage that used to exist, so that in heavy winter rains the lake would not overflow and damage the beaches, and 2) allow us to increase the level of the lake to create movement of water that would reduce stagnation. Reducing stagnation reduces algae, as nutrients are washed away.
We are immediately looking at raising the level of the lake, so that there is the desired flow, and we will update you as soon as we finalize discussions with TPCHD. Long term, we will probably relocate the lake water inlet pipes (which puts water into the lake from the well the HOA owns) to the Shady (North) Beach, so that the increased flow goes across the entire lake, keeping it clearer with lower algae levels.
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