THERE’S something in the air at Poole Park – and angry visitors are blaming the something in the water. The park’s 40-acre saltwater lake has been blighted by green algae since late June, leading environment chiefs to open sluice gates and even dye the water in a bid to stem its creeping tide.
On Wednesday, July 14, Daily Echo readers reported a pernicious odour emanating from the weed-infected water and demanded action to stop the stench.
Grandmother Julie Nichols said she had cut short a visit to the park with her grandchildren and said she could still smell the odour when she returned to her home in nearby Lilliput.
“It’s a nasty, chemical smell. We had to get away from the park with the grandchildren very quickly because it was giving us a headache,” she said.
“It smelt like being on an industrial site with a chemical factory belching stuff out.”
Poole council says the smell is probably caused by decomposing weeds.
Twelve tonnes of tassleweed were removed from the lakebed earlier this year, but its continued spread has been linked to hot weather and high nutrient levels in the water.
Environmental legislation has outlawed chemical treatments for the problem and a vegetable dye introduced to the lake two weeks ago to restrict the amount of sunlight absorbed by the algae appears to have been ineffective.
People visiting the park said the smell had got right up their noses. Norman Humphries, 84, who lives in nearby Orchard Avenue, said he had first noticed the smell about three weeks ago.
“I’ve never smelled it worse than it is now. It must be four years since I have seen it as bad as this. It looks awful,” he said.
Student Jade Manley, 18, likened the smell to sewage, while Kerry Foods worker Angelo Abreu, 66, said he had noticed the odour for the last few weeks.
Clare Freeman, the council’s greenspace manager, said: “Routine water quality tests are taking place and we are continuing to monitor the situation.
“Other shallow water bodies, such as Holes Bay, that have experienced a rapid growth of blanket weed, are also emitting similar smells.
“It is to likely to be caused by the weed as it decomposes, which is part of the natural process.”