A county commissioner candidate (Mr. Cooper) is making mistaken pronouncements that Capitol Lake is a “cesspool.” Not so. Capitol Lake has been clean enough for swimming for the last 15 years. Cleaner than Black Lake’s Kenny Dell Park swimming area, actually. But the estuary that he would replace the lake with would resemble a cesspool. During spring and summer, the lowest tides occur during daylight business-, recreation-, and tourism hours. The exposed marine mud generates “rotten egg” hydrogen sulfide gas. Although oxygen suppresses it, its noticeable noxious smell is often present.
Another “cesstuary” smell is the stench from dead marine organisms killed by hot days when the tide is low. During those days, that stench is strong and terrible. That happened last July. Before you blame such smells on the lake, see which way the wind is blowing. It is usually from the north during the summer. July’s stinking air was created by the exposed Budd Inlet tide flats.
An estuary replacing the lake might well turn inner Budd Inlet into a seasonal cesspool. That is because the lake prevents human-source oxygen depletion in the Inlet’s bottom waters during the summers; an estuary would not.
After a local club invited me to give a presentation on Capitol Lake, estuary enforcers aggressively (but unsuccessfully) bullied its president to cancel the invitation. They don’t want the public to learn that the lake is the best environmental asset a community could have. Candidate Cooper isn’t the only one who’s been misled about this.