Residents invited to learn about alum treatment plan

Although not as crowded as other summer holidays, the lake attracted boaters, swimmers, fisher folk and other water sports enthusiasts during last week's Labor Day weekend, photographed here by Dennis Bickers. With busy summer days past, water officials are preparing to administer the first treatment of alum to the lake during the week of September 23 to 27. But first, residents are invited to learn what the alum treatment is all about at next week's informational meeting. Credit: Dennis Bickers

How will adding alum to the lake affect treated drinking water? What will alum do to the fish population? Will it still be okay to swim and do other water sports after the lake is treated?

Water officials are preparing to administer the first treatment of hydrated potassium aluminum sulfate, better known as "alum," to Canyon Lake's namesake lake. But before that takes place, they want to give residents a chance to understand the process for helping the lake water and what it will mean to the health and safety of humans, plants and fish life.

An informational meeting will be held next Tuesday, September 10, at 7 p.m. in the City Multi-purpose Room, downstairs from City Hall. It is expected to last one hour.

According to, "The Canyon Lake Alum Treatment Project will provide for the temporary treatment of in? lake water quality from inputs of high concentrations of phosphorus from the San Jacinto River Watershed. Aluminum sulfate (alum) is a metal salt that can combine with inorganic phosphorus and/or remove phosphorus? containing particles from the water column." In other words, it's a process that is expected to reduce algae and improve water clarity.

Moderated by City Councilwoman Nancy Horton, chair of the Lake Elsinore San Jacinto Watershed Authority (LESJWA), the program will consist of a 10-minute presentation by Jason Uhley, chief of Watershed Protection, Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District , and chair of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Task Force.

Terry McNabb of Aquatechnex, the alum contractor, will explain how the alum application will take place.

A panel discussion will follow, giving residents a chance to hear from more experts and to ask questions. In addition to Jason Uhley, the panel will include Mark Norton, LESJWA Administrator and Water Resources and Planning Manager for the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority; Dr. Timothy F. Moore, President of Risk Sciences, consultant to the TMDL Task Force; Brian Dickinson, Director of Operations for the Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District; Catherine Wilson, Director of Operations for the Canyon Lake Property Owners Association, and Terry McNabb of Aquatechnex.