$3 million worth of improvements coming to Lake Olmstead Park, but what about the water quality?

Friday, Jan. 3, 2020
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

We're hearing from the folks in charge of Lake Olmstead Park after dangerous levels of E. coli were detected there. (Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- We're hearing from the folks in charge of Lake Olmstead Park after dangerous levels of E. coli were detected there.

The lake is back to normal after several weeks of rains, but that doesn’t mean the problem won’t come back.

So how are they going to fix it? Well, it starts with cleaning up the trash. But fixing the water quality issue as a whole is a much bigger problem.

Paul Pearman has lived by Lake Olmstead for 20 years, and his dock was a mess a few weeks back.

“There's a film on the dock and everywhere,” Pearman said. “It dries out, and then it's blowing in the wind. Fecal matter blowing in the wind."

Poor water quality is relatively normal at Lake Olmstead. Gary Hegner with Augusta Parks says trash and drainage from area waterways flow here.

"You are basically waiting ‘til it happens, and then you're cleaning,” Hegner said. “Unfortunately, we aren't really able to prevent it in advance."

When the water quality is bad, Augusta Parks says they do get the word out, but some are concerned it’s not enough.

"There's no sign that says the fecal count is eight times its normal rate,” Pearman said. “Now, I don't know about you, but I'm not going to that fish fry."

Most agree the park is in great shape, and Augusta Parks says there's more improvements on the way. A multi-million dollar project to clean out the lake is also expected in late spring.

Hegner says keeping the waterways clean is a community effort.

"If everyone took a little more care with how it’s taken care of, we wouldn't necessarily see this,” Hegner said.

Augusta Parks says they plan on cleaning out this trash in the next couple weeks. The more than $3 million dredging project won't start until late spring. Officials say that could help with the flooding, but that can often dirty the water up even more.

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