White Lake is a 1,067-acre waterbody located in White Lake, NC. White Lake is a shallow (maximum depth of 9.6 feet, average depth of 6.5 feet) Carolina Bay Lake and is an important tourist destination during the summer. The lake is used heavily for recreation and has shown signs of degraded water quality since 2015. Poor water clarity, caused by nuisance amounts of algae, has been the primary concern for the lake community. Algae require the nutrient for growth and excessive amounts fuel blooms. Although toxins haven’t been measured at White Lake, we know some algal blooms have the potential to be harmful to humans.
HAB Aquatic Solutions (HAB) will be applying alum to reduce the amount of phosphorus in the water, which leads to less frequent and intense algal blooms and better water clarity. Alum is a safe and commonly-used in cleaning water in drinking water treatment facilities. A buffered alum application dose and strategy have been developed and will deliver a target dose to White Lake. HAB will be conducting the application over a twelve-day period in May. The application produces a “floc” that settles to the bottom of the lake. The floc has attachment sites where phosphorus becomes chemically bound as it sinks through the water, which makes it unavailable for the algae to use for growth. The goals of the project are to lower the amount of phosphorus available to algae in the water, reduce the amount of algae, and improve the clarity of the lake.