Will new signs prevent more pollution at Verulamium Lake in St Albans?

PUBLISHED: 17:00 30 January 2017

Verulamium Lake.

Verulamium Lake.

Danny Loo Photography 2016

Stronger-worded signs to discourage members of the public from feeding the wildlife at Verulamium Park in St Albans could be introduced in the near future.

And St Albans council’s environment portfolio holder, Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles, told a scrutiny meeting that he was also looking at a new filtration system to improve the cleanliness of the lake.

Pollution levels at the lake have been a matter of concern for the past few years with calls for it to be dredged, particularly after scores of birds died from an outbreak of avian botulism in the summer of 2015.

But the district council ruled out that option because they felt it was not cost efficient or ecological, instead planning to add more aquatic plants in a bid to oxygenate the water. However, they did remove tonnes of silt from the lake last summer in a bid to improve its condition.

In 2015 the council put up signs around the lake discouraging people from feeding the ducks and other waterfowl because not only was it bad for the birds but could also result in poor quality water.

Cllr Chichester-Miles told the scrutiny meeting that the signage the council had put up, designed by local schoolchildren, had been effective. But he went on: “We are considering much stronger, blunter signage which actually says ‘Do not feed the animals’

He also put forward a plan for a new filtration system to improve the cleanliness of the lake.

He said: “We don’t want the filtration tank which we had before which wasn’t particularly sightly and I personally wanted to avoid that odour again.

“We were looking at the possibility of a much higher suction where a pipe would go across.”

An initial quote for the installation of the filtration system came to £27,000, although Cllr Chichester-Miles said the council would look at other options before committing to spending that money, in case something better or more environmentally-friendly could be found.

The council will discuss improvements to the lake again at a later date.

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