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Losing Irrigation Pressure? Thank The Department Of Ecology

Algae explosion affecting irrigation customers
(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The blistering heat in the Mid-Columbia has brought with it more than just sun burns.

According to information released by the Kennewick Irrigation District, many customers are having significant issues with water pressure caused by what is being called an explosion of algae. The slow moving canals, coupled with triple-digit temperatures, have become a breeding ground for algae blooms.

These fast-growing pests and are clogging filters and screens all over the regions. Pond weeds are also causing issues. Because of environmental restrictions from the Department of Ecology, irrigation districts can only use certain chemicals to combat the growth. The most commonly-used herbicide is copper sulfate.

There are other chemicals that will completely rid the canals of the algae and other harmful plants, but can’t be used because the KID and other irrigation waters run off into wasteways, or make their way back to the Columbia and Yakima rivers.

In the meantime, irrigation customers are urged to check and clean filters and screens, and make sure irrigation water is kept away from swimming pools, as this excessive algae explosion can also contain mustard algae. Just a few teaspoons of water containing mustard algae can turn an average sized pool into a yellow mess virtually overnight.

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