Some places are easier to vacuum than others.
On Tuesday, Dane County announced a new project, deemed”suck the muck,” which calls for spending $12 million to slurp up phosphorus from 33 miles of streams leading into Lake Mendota. Local officials say the work will remove 870,000 pounds of phosphorus from waterways. The chemical is commonly blamed for the algae blossoms that can foul waterways.
“This effort will mean cleaner lakes for our children and grandchildren,” said Dane County Executive Parisi. “Our lakes are one of the reasons people love living in Dane County. We must continue to improve the health and vitality of our lakes.”
The project is meant to clean up streams that bring phosphorus to the lakes. Pollutants embedded in riverbed muck won’t cease releasing the chemical until they’re removed, according to a news release. The project is meant to restore stream bottoms to what they were in 1980, providing wildlife with cleaner habitats.
A Dane County analysis of water quality on streams and creeks feeding Lake Mendota found that, unless the muck is removed, it will take 99 years to bring the lake’s water quality up to standard. Testing shows the phosphorus concentrated in the stream’s sediment is seven times greater than what’s found on crop fields in the watershed.