Bryan man leading petition to clean Municipal Lake

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - A new effort is growing to clean up the Bryan Municipal Lake.

The lake has gotten safer in recent years after an arsenic spill more than 20 years ago, but there are still some problems lurking underneath.

Decades ago, pollution from the former Elf Atochem Pesticide Plant put Bryan in the national spotlight.

A nearby neighbor wants to clean up the lake once and for all.

"If we can get all this cleaned out, it'll be really nice, be easy to keep clean you know," said Patrick Giammalva.

He's planning to redevelop his nearby property and wants to have pollution at the lake addressed.

Giammalva recently started passing around a petition for his neighbors to sign and is encouraging them to help out.

"I'm not pressing anybody to do anything. If they want to come out here and help pick up some trash, or clean up or cut some weeds, that would be nice," he said.

The city and the company responsible for the plant worked to clean up the lake.

But city officials say dredging the lake and the remaining arsenic would be costly.

"We've run some figures and it is a multi-million dollar process. The good news is time seems to help as well," said Hugh Walker, Bryan Deputy City Manager.

Walker says plans to add fountains to aerate the lake are on hold for now.
Bids for the project, he says, were outside the city's budget.

In past summers, there have been fish kills due to high temperature and lack of oxygen.

"We went through that process. We realized that there may be some other things that we need to look at, such as adding some enzymes or other substances," said Walker.

City leaders say they welcome any extra help.

"The one thing we do ask is they not stir up the sediment within the lake. As far as getting assistance with cleanup, we certainly appreciate it," he said.

Giammalva says he wants the lake to be an attraction for future generations.

"This is a nice city park and we could have a real nice clean lake here. Have some sort of water park, fishing, kayaking, canoeing," he said.

The city council is expected to decide on the fountain options at Tuesday night's meeting. Staff have asked the council reject the current proposals so they can revisit it soon.

Some other good news is the recent rains from Hurricane Harvey have helped clean out the lake.

For more information on the petition Patrick Giammalva can be reached at: giammalva54 at gmail.com