U.S. National Park Service employees are in the process of removing green algae from Washington, DC's iconic reflecting pool, only a few weeks after a $34 million two-year renovation was completed.
"The main thing is it is an aesthetic problem, it is not a safety or a health problem," said National Park Service spokesman Carol Johnson on Tuesday.
The algae appeared about two weeks ago near the portion of the reflecting pool closest to the Lincoln Memorial located on the National Mall, and has become a "formidable foe" for the park service staff Johnson said.
Park Service workers have been manually removing the algae with nets, and pumping ozone into the water, which "appears to be working, because most of the algae is dead or dying," Johnson said.
The pool reopened the end of August after undergoing a reconstruction overhaul that was funded through a United States government economic stimulus package.
The re-engineering project included fixing a leak in the concrete pool, replacing dirt paths with sidewalks, and installing systems that would draw water from the Tidal Basin instead of city drinking water.
"The algae came in from the Tidal Basin and one of the success points of the project is that we are using Tidal Basin water and not city water," Johnson said. "But when you are using Tidal Basin water, you have to work with natural elements."
The new water system was installed to filter and clean the water more efficiently, and Johnson admitted that the park service "knew there would be an adjustment phase, but we did not expect an algae bloom at the magnitude there is."
The Park Service is unsure when the algae will completely be removed from the pool.
"We have absolutely no doubt we will be able to deal with this," Johnson said. "It may take some time, but we are making headway on it already."