Ken Malloy Harbor Park and Lake Machado in Harbor City are disgusting, polluted messes reminiscent of the big plot device in The Simpsons Movie (a lake so toxic that it kills Green Day). The city is now embarking on an epic mission to clear weeds and trash from the 231-acre park and make Lake Machado, more commonly known as the one-time home of Reggie the alligator, less of a filthy stew, which at this point houses non-native water snakes and snapping turtles (people who've fallen in the lake have developed skin rashes and breathing problems). The $111-million effort is being paid for by Proposition O, the 2004 water quality bond, but is not just an act of altruism on the city's part: the Machado cleanup is required by state and federal law because it's so filthy that it's described as "impaired" under the Clean Water Act, notes LA Observed's Mark King, who is part of the Prop. O oversight advisory committee. Problems include "eutrophication (algae caused by nutrient overloads in the water), toxic metals, and DDT and PCBs, banned organochlorines that still linger in this environment."
The cleanup will be one of the most difficult lake restorations undertaken in California, King notes, similar to the exhausting effort to restore Echo Park Lake. After years of community input, the Harbor City cleanup begins Saturday and will eventually involve dredging and huge vacuum suckers to pull up polluted sediment. Officials hope the cleanup brings an end to illegal bonfires and paintball wars happening amidst bird habitats, and encourages kayakers, fishing, and swimming.
· At LA's Lake Machado and adjacent park, a long-awaited restoration [LA Times]
· A Peek Behind the Machado Lake Restoration Story [LAO]