Residents concerned about Lacombe Lake contamination

Lacombe Lake Watershed Stewardship Society seeks to ensure creek water does not flow into lake

A group committed to protecting Lacombe Lake is continuing to press Lacombe County to ensure water from a nearby creek is kept out.

Lake property owners and members of the Lacombe Lake Watershed Stewardship Society are worried that creek water contaminated from area farms will ruin the small lake between Lacombe and Blackfalds east of Hwy 2.

Society members were at Lacombe County council last Thursday to highlight their concerns and lobby to have a water diversion structure modified to prevent Whelp Creek water from ever back-flowing into the lake.

The county has a licence that allows it to divert water into the lake but has not done any diversions since 2008 because of local concerns.

“Basically our concern is with the level of the lake and every once in a while it’s possible for water to come into the lake from Whelp Creek,” said stewardship society member and former Lacombe County councillor Cliff Soper.

As development creeps closer, society members fear there could be more pressure to at times divert the creek into the lake.

What those seeking to protect the lake would like to see is a structure that allows water to flow out of the lake into the creek when levels rise too high, but is designed not to allow creek water to flow back in.

Soper said the stewardship society is meeting on Thursday to discuss the issue and what information and data they can find to bolster their case.

Council made no commitment to a course of action on Thursday. It will be discussed during a committee of the whole meeting in December.

Stewardship society member and Lacombe Lake property owner Anita Alexander said previous studies done by the province on the creek show that it contains agricultural runoff.

“Our big concern are the nutrients,” she said.

They can prove fatal to aquatic animals and cause “explosive weed growth,” she said. “It does totally disrupt the ecosystem.”

While the county has not intentionally diverted Whelp Creek water, it inadvertently flowed into the lake once in 2011 and again last spring, she said.

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