County Council OKs plan for lake’s algae cleanup

STANWOOD — Homeowners from around Lake Ketchum applauded a Snohomish County Council vote Wednesday that will help pay for toxic algae cleanup.

The 25-acre lake north of Stanwood has a history of problems with dense algae blooms forming scum that resembles green or blue paint, according to the county’s Surface Water Management Division. The blooms are harmful to animals and pets. Runoff from land south of the lake is a big contributor to the algae problem, officials say.

The council’s 4-0 vote approved a plan to generate an extra $13,500 per year in stormwater fees. It adds a $150 annual stormwater charge on 85 lakefront properties and a $30 annual charge on 52 parcels that are away from the lake but have beach rights. Current charges are $90 per parcel.

The goal is to pay for a lake cleanup plan the county developed in 2012. It would cost $194,000 for an initial treatment and $36,000 per year after that.

A $50,000 state Department of Ecology grant and a $40,000 county grant are helping to cover the costs. The county plans to use $18,000 per year from existing stormwater service charges for the lake’s cleanup. Other funds are coming from private sources.

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