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Algae quickly returns to Thomas Park pond

Silver lining: Project yields more dirt than anticipated

STERLING – The Thomas Park pond has been dredged, and the new fountain installed, but the algae has proven to be a formidable foe.

Last week, after battling the long run of heavy rains, the Sterling Park District had 6 feet of clean water in the pond, and 8,329 cubic yards of dirt drying for future use on the city’s riverfront. But it didn’t take long for the green scum to reappear.

“It was less than a week, and the pond was three-fourths [covered in] algae again,” Parks Director Larry Schuldt said.

Schuldt is hopeful that the algae is of the residual variety, and it shouldn’t be a long-term problem.

“When the dredging was going on, the algae just kind of formed in the muck,” Schuldt said.

The pond couldn’t be treated until the organisms made their reappearance. A fungicide spray, copper sulfate, was used for the first time Thursday. The spray also kills bacteria, and is often used on produce such as tomato plants.

“We can use it to treat the pond regularly,” Schuldt said. “It should take about 5 days to get rid of what’s in there.”

Regular treatment will likely be necessary, partly because of stormwater runoff and drainage from nearby farmland.

Schuldt said the spray is also safe for the fish that will be stocked in the pond this fall. He isn’t sure what kind of fish they’ll use – possibly catfish or bluegill.

Now that the fountain is up and running, the park district is working on additional beautification plans at Thomas.

“We’re pruning some trees, and we’re contacting commercial landscapers to reseed and regrade so there is a nice grassy surface to the edge of the water,” Schuldt said.

Not much can be done in the back of the park until the huge piles of fill dry out and can be moved to the former Northwestern Steel and Wire site. That should happen sometime this fall.

The city will get more dirt than initially thought. The pond dredging produced about 1,000 cubic yards more than expected.

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