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Science and Innovations

City of Prescott Reaches Agreement Over Pollution in Watson Lake

The City of Prescott has reached a settlement with environmental regulators over new pollution limits for Watson Lake. The agreement requires another look at the limits once more data is collected.

The City of Prescott and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality have agreed to revisit the pollution limits set for Watson Lake three to five years from now. The settlement comes after complaints from the Prescott City Council that the limits were based on insufficient data.

Clyde Halstead, assistant city attorney for Prescott, says, “The settlement allows the city to develop a little bit of additional data, and for the lake model to be reworked, so we ensure it actually does was it was supposed to do.”

ADEQ issued a report on Watson Lake earlier this year. It determined that inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus have to be cut nearly in half to meet Clean Water Act requirements.

Krista Osterberg is the watershed protection unit manager for ADEQ. She says the settlement doesn’t change their plan for monitoring the water quality.  “Both ADEQ and the city were already planning to collect this data,” Osterberg says. “The only thing that the settlement changes is it gives us a firm and short turn-around time for looking at this data again.”

Watson Lake has been listed as “impaired” since 2004. ADEQ will provide technical support and funding to projects in the watershed that help implement the cleanup.

Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
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