Big Algae Problem

By: Amanda Lutz
By: Amanda Lutz

Algae formation is nothing new on Lakes Petenwell and Castle Rock, but it's become worse over the past few years.

Frank Luetdke, president of the Pentenwell-Castle Rock Property Owners Association, says the sight and the stench is putrid, and the toxins can be deadly if they get into humans and animals.

"In June and July, when it's hot and humid, you might as well wear green when you go in because you'll be green when you come out," Luetdke says.

Tests are currently underway to determine the cause of the algae growth. Water from the Wisconsin River empties into both lakes. That's why state representative Marlin Schneider, (D) Wisconsin Rapids, says the problem could be traced back to many sources.

"What sorts of things are being put into the water may be of some concern, but whether or not they're having a direct impact on algae growth would remain for the scientists to determine," Schneider says.

But Luedtke says he thinks he knows what the problem is: industries that have been granted more relaxed phosphorous dumping regulations by the DNR. He says following the laws already in place would easily take care of the problem.

"If [the DNR] would just follow the bill, NR-217, this would clean our lakes up, and that's all we're asking for," Luetdke says.

Luetdke has already written letters to the DNR addressing the algae problem. He and Schneider both say it could have serious effects on the health and economy of the lakes if it's not taken care of.

NewsChannel 7's attempts to DNR officials for a comment on this issue were not returned.