‘Suck the Muck’ to remove algae-making phosphorus from Dane County streams

August 15, 2017 GMT

How to reduce algae-making phosphorous in Dane County lakes? Suck the muck.

Muck, the ooze at the bottom of streams, is the chief culprit in the phosphorous/algae problem, holding hundreds of thousands of pounds of phosphorus for decades, slowly and steadily getting released to exacerbate the pollution mucking up the lakes.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced on Monday the Suck the Muck project has started, with Dorn Creek the first stream to get the Hoover treatment.

“The preliminary site work and design and engineering work is being done in and along the stream, prior to the sediment being vacuumed out,” Parisi said.

Suck the Muck is a $12 million initiative to clean 33 miles of streams that feed into the lakes, bringing the phosphorous along with the water.

The goal is to take 870,000 pounds of phosphorus out of the muck.

“The muck at the bottom of the streams is nearly 125 years old and is a much greater contributor to the health of our lakes than earlier thought,” Parisi said. “Without another pound of phosphorus runoff, there’s so much material built up in these streams it would take 66 years to achieve the clean water goals.”

Parisi and staff will be touring the county over the next few weeks to explain the project.

The Clean Lakes Community Forums are to begin Aug. 21 at Waunakee and Monona, then to Middleton Sept. 5, Windsor Sept. 7 and finish up on Sept. 18 at Shorewood Hills.