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8/19/2014 3:26:00 PM
Fish in City Dam overdose on algae treatment
More well water in reservoir than normal causes fish kill, Game and fish to restock in coming weeks

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - A number of fish died in a city reservoir during the first week of August after the lake received an overdose of copper sulfate meant to treat algae.

City Dam usually contains trout, catfish and bass that the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) stocks. Every year the city pre-treats the lake water with copper sulfate, which City Manager Brandon Buchanan said reduces the amount of oxygen in the lake so that the algae do not become overgrown.

"We do this on a regular basis just to keep it in check so it doesn't become a problem," Buchanan said.

Public Works Director Kyle Christiansen added that treating the water while it's in the reservoir is an efficient method.

"It saves us some chemicals and cost and time at the water plant if we pre-treat that water," Christiansen said.

The water system is set up so that any excess water that the city brings to the treatment plant from the wells and Dogtown Reservoir but does not use ends up in City Dam.

Since the well water has different properties than the water from runoff has, it did not require as much copper sulfate.

"The dosage just wasn't adjusted to account for that," Buchanan said. "So it basically kind of over treated that water, it lowered the oxygen more than it needed to, and that's what resulted in the fish kill."

Christiansen said the over treatment did not affect the water quality.

"It just reduces the oxygen in the water and the fish suffocate," Christiansen said. "I would speculate that all the remaining fish are dead."

The city did not have an estimate for how many fish were in the lake at the time.

The AZGFD is planning to restock the lake in the coming weeks. The cost of the fish comes from things like fees for fishing licenses, not from the city budget.

The city does not plan to treat any of the other lakes with copper sulfate at this time. In the future, city officials plan to test the water before treatment.

"We'd have to do a sample there and get an idea of what the alkalinity is and what the dissolved oxygen is and then base our treatment upon that," Christiansen said. "If this is the same situation that we've had-if the water is predominantly well water and more clean and clear than what we've had as runoff-then we may not treat at all or the treatment will be such that it shouldn't have that devastating effect."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, August 28, 2014
Article comment by: disappointed In Williams

A total waste of tax payers dollars. Does it really matter if it came from the city budget or if it comes from money I spent on my fishing license, it's still money wasted!

I understand mistakes happen but this seems to be part of a much bigger problem of accountablity... something foreign to Williams City Employees and our leadership.. why do you all keep voting the same people into the same positions when it's clear it's time for a change??

Posted: Monday, August 25, 2014
Article comment by: Wayne in Williams

This will be another one of those William "events" that no one is ever responsible for, it just magically happened. Although if anything good happens everyone from the Mayor, Council Members, Town Manager, CVB are quick to tell you how they were responsible for it

Posted: Saturday, August 23, 2014
Article comment by: Pat Smith

What a dam shame! Poor fish!

Posted: Friday, August 22, 2014
Article comment by: Keith Wilmot

Which employee was responsible for this? Have they been disciplined for the mistake? What was the discipline? We pay our city employees a lot of money and we expect at least some competence. Now, how about a little accountability?

Posted: Friday, August 22, 2014
Article comment by: Joe Lewis

These people are as inept as our firefighters and forest rangers! Unbelievable!

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