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Facebook commenters concerned over water quality in Lakeside Park wading pools

Lakeside Park wading pools cause controversy

Facebook users generated an ongoing online conversation about the water quality in four wading pools along the beach area of Lakeside Park, 305 Buena Vista Drive in Marble Falls. According to Parks and Recreation Director Lacey Dingman, park staff removes debris from the pools daily to prevent algae growth in the stagnant pools. Staff photo by Brigid Cooley

The shallow wading pools in the beach area at Lakeside Park, 305 Buena Vista Drive in Marble Falls, have received negative feedback from residents and visitors alike. A post made last week on the Marble Falls Hotel and Conference Center (Taxpayers Opinions) Facebook group received over 50 comments discussing the appearance of the pools. 

“Y’all have made our beautiful town look nasty,” Ida Ribera said in the post, which was accompanied by two photos. “Not sure what the purpose of the shallow ponds are for but they are NASTY.”

The four 2-feet-deep basins along the beach area at the park were constructed in 2019. The intention was to create a swimming area as well provide a buffer to keep some of the sand from the man-made beach out of the lake, Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Charles Watkins said.

“(The water) is an unforeseen result of our design, and we are actively looking for cost-effective solutions,” Watkins said.  

The pools have no filtration or pump system, meaning the basins rely on the “manual exchange of water with the lake through weep holes in the concrete wall” for filtration, Parks and Recreation director Lacey Dingman explained in a written statement to 

The water in the pools is often stagnant and tinted green with algae. City staff manually remove debris daily to prevent algae growth in the pools, Dingman said. 

“However, it is untreated lake water and some element of biological growth is unavoidable,” Dingman wrote. 

She also noted that spring months see the most algae growth across the Highland Lakes, which, in combination with less boat and human traffic to agitate the lake water, makes it difficult to manage the water quality in the pools.

Some Facebook commenters, like LaDonna Kay Fogarty, expressed health concerns.

“Someone needs to be held accountable for this ugly toxic area now!” she wrote. “I don’t go down there anymore and will not be going down there in the future. We used to go swim down there all the time …” 

“Mosquitos and snakes need a park, too,” Facebook user Brandon Arrington added with a bit of snark.

Dingman said the parks department staff will continue to look for “different techniques and processes” to address the concerns expressed by residents.