WHITE LAKE, NC (WECT) - Recreational use of White Lake is allowed again after an alum application was completed to treat the lake for algae.
According to a press release, the treatment was completed in time for this week's 40th Anniversary White Lake Water Festival.
The Town of White Lake of Bladen County Health Department are increasing monitoring of the lake's water quality to make sure it remains safe for public use.
"We are working with the Bald Head Island Conservancy to understand the causes of the algal blooms and to assess the lake's groundwater resource," said Mayor Goldston Womble. "We would also like to thank local leaders who have expressed their support for identifying what can be done to improve such a critical piece of our community and economy."
Town officials contracted with HAB Aquatic Solutions, LLC and in early May began applying alum to reduce the amount of phosphorus in the water.
The treatment is meant to reduce the number and intensity of algal blooms and improve the lake's water clarity.
Algal blooms occur when nutrient levels in a body of water are too high. It can often cause a significant drop in dissolved oxygen levels in the water, which can lead to fish kills.
Alum is a safe and commonly-used additive used during drinking water treatment processes, according to the press release.
However, the water treatment was halted shortly after it began to allow the NC Division of Water Quality to investigate dead fish washing up on the shore.
Treatments were allowed to resume after state investigators determined the algal bloom caused the fish to die and not the alum.
"We are hopeful the reduction in pH following the initial alum treatment will lessen the potential for additional fish impacts," said NC Division of Water Resources Interim Deputy Director Jim Gregson in the letter to the Town of White Lake.
White Lake officials say it has been a full week since dead fish have been found.
They also say pH levels are dropping, indicating the alum treatment is having the desired effect on the algae bloom and the water clarity has improved.
To address public concerns, the Town of White Lake will have staff at the festival this weekend to answer questions.
The festival takes place Thursday, May 17-Saturday, May 19.
Residents can also find more information on HAB Aquatic Solutions work to improve White Lake's water quality by clicking here.