The Togus Lake Association has contracted with SOLitude Lake Management, which uses boats likes the one shown, to treat Togus Pond to capture phosphorous to forestall summer algae blooms. Photo courtesy of SOLitude Lake Management

AUGUSTA — Togus Pond is about to undergo a chemical treatment to be dispersed from a barge, intended to prevent the popular body of water from turning green from algae blooms this summer.

The lake will be treated with aluminum sulfate, or alum, by SOLitude Lake Management. The effort is organized and funded by the Worromontogus Lake Association to prevent algae blooms, which often turn the lake green, unattractive and unhealthy in August and September. The algae blooms also degrade water quality.

Togus Pond, ringed by many camps and homes, is on the Maine Impaired Lakes Priority List, and lake association leaders hope the alum treatment, and other steps taken in recent years, will help change that.

The alum to be spread across Togus Pond binds with phosphorus in the lake that is a food source for the unwanted algae. By binding with the phosphorous down at the bottom of the lake, it denies the algae that food source and, officials hope, greatly reduces the amount of algae that will grow for each of the next 15 to 20 summers.

When done correctly, including with close monitoring of pH levels in the water body, the treatment is safe for the environment and people, fish or other animals that may come in contact with it, officials said.

“It’s completely safe, and it’s used frequently to treat public drinking water,” said Sarah Fagg, chairwoman of the Togus Pond Restoration Committee and a lake association board member. “It will improve conditions. There’s no harm to fish or wildlife, it’s carefully monitored.”


A barge, followed by another boat to monitor pH levels, is expected to be brought to Togus Pond on Monday, as are storage tanks to be stationed next to the lake to hold the alum. Treatment is expected to start Tuesday and continue daily until next Saturday.

Anyone on the lake during the treatment is asked to stay 100 feet from the barge.

Greg Jolda, president of Worromontogus Lake Association, hopes Togus Pond will be “a shining example of how to restore a lake in Maine.”

“Algae blooms can cause medical issues, decrease property values, and impact the overall enjoyment of this incredible natural resource,” Jolda said. “A healthy Togus Pond benefits the entire Kennebec Valley region by increasing tourism, supporting local businesses and bringing positive attention to the region.”

He said a recently completed study showed Togus Pond water is high in phosphorus, creating a perfect breeding ground for algae. He said the study showed that an alum treatment is an appropriate way to restore the pond’s chemical balance and prevent the reoccurring algal blooms that have been a problem there for decades.

The project required a state Department of Environmental Protection permit that involved a monthslong review process. The DEP permit for the project is for five years.


The project also requires a substantial amount of money: about $400,000 now and nearly $400,000 for a planned second treatment to be done within two years.

Association members have worked since 2022 to raise the first $400,000 for it, with most of it, $325,000, coming from lakeside property owners. The project also received $30,000 from Kennebec Savings Bank, $20,000 from the city of Augusta, and $17,000 in community donations.

Similar treatments have been done at other area lakes with apparent success.

Other efforts to improve the water quality of Togus Pond have included work and grants to improve roads and shoreline properties to reduce the amount of runoff that carries phosphorus into the lake, and construction of a fishway to allow alewives to get around a dam that previously blocked them. Alewives are a species of herring whose spawn feed on and remove phosphorus from water bodies.

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