Indian Lake Watershed Association Update 5/27/2015

Indian Lake Closed May 28th and May 29th


The Indian Lake Watershed Association, in cooperation with The City of Worcester, has contracted with Aquatic Control Technology to conduct a treatment of Indian Lake with aluminum sulfate. The goal of the treatment is to lower phosphorus levels in the water and reduce the likelihood of nuisance algal blooms.

The treatment will take place on May 28th & 29th. On these days, we ask that you refrain from using the lake for swimming or other water contact activity beginning at 7am May 28th. Normal use may begin on Saturday, May 30th at 7am.

What is Alum?

Alum (aluminum sulfate) is a nontoxic material commonly used in water treatment plants to clarify drinking water. In lakes, a low dose alum treatment is used to strip the water column of phosphorus. At higher doses, it is often used to inactivate phosphorus in the bottom sediments. This is accomplished by applying an aluminum salt to the lake which reacts with the water to form an insoluble aluminum hydroxide solid (floc). This floc falls through the water column removing phosphorus and then settles to the bottom forming a "blanket".

The phosphorus which comes from external sources as well as the nutrients released from the sediment provides food for the algae.

In some cases, a higher level of Alum is used to seal areas of sediment that are releasing excessive nutrients prior to or in place of sediment removal. At this time only a low dose of Alum is being used at Indian Lake.

The practice of using Alum in surface waters has been around for 50+ years and has been utilized successfully on numerous projects in Massachusetts and around the country to lower phosphorus levels and reduce the frequency and severity of nuisance algae blooms.

How long will the Alum treatment last?

While many steps have been taken to decrease the nutrients in the lake, significantly more work is needed. An Alum treatment has been recommended for Indian Lake for many years but the cost has not made this possible. 

A typical response to excessive algae is treatment with Copper Sulfate. This treatment is less expensive and kills the algae but could require multiple treatments as algae continues to bloom.

The Alum has a much better chance of getting us through the summer because it changes the conditions in the lake that make it such a great home to algae. There is no guarantee this will last all summer and we continue to fundraise for a Copper Sulfate treatment if needed.

We are fortunate to have many donors that stepped up to make what we feel is the best chance for success possible.

Where can I get more information?

There is a great document online that was developed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources which is a good question/answer on the use of Alum to control phosphorus in lakes.

Wisconsin Dept of Natural Resources Alum Doc 

Got algae?


Many folks have asked "Do we have algae?". YES we have algae. In fact, pretty much every single lake has some algae. There are hundreds of different types and very few are harmful. In fact, blue green algae, such as what was discovered in Indian Lake last year, is not guaranteed to be harmful. It can produce toxins as it's dying. That lifecycle can happen at any time which is why the lake remained closed for so long last year. Excessive levels of blue green were detected last year but very few samples indicated the presence of toxins.


That all said, algae testing is not a requirement for a public lake. It is very expensive and there is no way to get immediate results. It is sent to a lab and typically takes several days for a full analysis.


At our request, the City of Worcester has funded algae testing for Indian Lake this year. This began several weeks ago and although there is algae is in the lake, the numbers thus far have remained very low.


Lake Fundraising Continues
The ILWA has been working tirelessly all winter to develop short and long range plans for Indian Lake. In the near term, our goal is to do everything possible to keep Indian Lake open for swimming and boating this summer after the discovery of cyanobacteria/blue-green algae that forced the lake's closure last summer.  
We have recently signed a contract with Aquatic Control Technologies, a local environmental company who has extensive experience working with Indian Lake. 
We continue to fundraise to cover expenses associated with lake management for this summer. A generous challenge grant has been issued by the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation to help us reach our goal of $35,000. 
We are currently $6750 short of our goal.  

Please consider making a tax deductible donation to the ILWA so that we can continue doing everything possible to keep the lake open this summer. Donations can be mailed to: ILWA, PO Box 60244, Worcester, MA 01606.
Portable Restrooms at Morgan Park


The ILWA board has voted to fund portable restrooms for Morgan Park this summer. With a little luck, they will be in place before this weekend! Rob Antonelli, Assistant Commissioner, City of Worcester - DPW & Parks, Parks, Recreation & Cemetery Division, is also working to extend the visit of the City funded restrooms and Shore Park and the City Beach this summer as a convenience to visitors.


Thank You!


Our spring cleanup on May 9th was a great success!


Volunteers worked at various locations around Indian Lake including Shore Park, Indian Lake Beach, Hapgood Brooks Memorial, Frostholm Memorial, Norton Drive and the state property at the end of Mattson Avenue.


Thank you to our tireless ILWA volunteers for their coordination efforts! Many thanks to students and teachers from St. John's High School Model United Nations as part of their longtime commitment to working with the ILWA for their spring service day, the City Manager's Clean Team, District 1 City Councilor Economou, Mayor Petty and the City of Worcester Department of Public Works & Parks.


Contact State and City Representatives TODAY
Last year's closure has brought a lot of issues affecting Indian Lake to the forefront. We have the attention of our City and State government and we are determined to turn this negative into a positive. WE NEED YOUR HELP!
As you read this, both the state and city budgets are being crafted and voted on. Funding is needed to pay for critical improvements to restore Indian Lake including monies for a sediment analysis, pre-dredging permitting, removal of nutrient filled sediment from the lake, adding critical storm water controls at Ararat Brook and improving the water movement through the Sears Island Causeway.
We need you to send letters to state and city representatives immediately to remind them of how important Indian Lake is to tax payers.

State Representative Jim O'Day
Massachusetts State House
Room 540
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-2090Fax: 617-626-0884
Email: James.O'

State Representative John Mahoney
Massachusetts State House
Room 443
Boston, MA 02133Phone: 617-722-2460Fax: 617-626-0247

Senator Harriette Chandler
Massachusetts State House
Room 333
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-1544Fax: 617-722-1357

Worcester City Council
City Manager Ed Augustus


Water Watchers
It is important that we all become champions for our watershed. Watch for signs of dumping into storm drains or waterways or clogged storm drains. Please report to the City of Worcester customer service line at 508-929-1300.


New Board


Welcome to our new board members for 2015-2016.


Beth Proko, President & Treasurer

Peter McKone, Vice President

Marianne Pomeroy, Secretary


Herb Adams

Karl Bjork

Irving Cormier

Bob Gates

Brian Laperle

Kevin O'Sullivan

Warren Page

Dave Schwartz

Diane Mohieldin Schwartz

Michele Sloan

Trevor Williams 


Monthly WPD Neighborhood Watch

The Worcester Police Department's monthly Neighborhood Watch take place the 3rd Tuesday of every month. The next meeting will be Tuesday, June 16th at 5:30pm at Ford's Hometown Services, 549 Grove Street. Enter 2nd floor in the rear, left side of Ford's Home Town Services.
               Volunteer Opportunities           


Looking for volunteer projects? First please know that volunteers are providing weekly maintenance at many locations around the lake so help is always needed with mowing, trimming, weeding.


Additional project ideas can be found at this link:


Volunteer projects 


New Email!


We have a new email address! Please direct questions and concerns to   


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Indian Lake Watershed Association, Inc.
 PO Box 60244
Worcester, Massachusetts 01606