Filamentous Algae is back with a Vengeance

The filamentous algae is back with a vengeance starting at the Montgomery crap plant on the Fox River.

In October of 2012 I put up a long post called Consider this Source. Over the course of two years, I documented the filamentous algae issues that were out of control from the Montgomery crap plant to at least Yorkville.

I sent a link to that post to as many people I could think of that has anything to do with Fox River conservation issues. I have no clue if what I did had any impact, nobody ever bothered responding to me. What I do know is that in 2013 and 2014 the algae never reappeared.

That has changed, the algae is back.



That tells me that the Montgomery crap plant is screwing around with the nitrate levels they release again. I believe that’s what happened last time.

Right now the algae is only in the clear water coming from the plant. When you get to the edge of the plant outflow where it runs along in the river, the algae stops in a very distinct line.

I already know what’s going to happen. By the time the outflow water gets to Oswego, it mixes with all of the other river water. Pretty much starting from the Route 34 bridge down for as far as you want to walk in the river, the algae will start to clog the whole river again. That happened last time, there’s no reason it won’t happen again.



I’m hoping those in conservation groups up and down the Fox River will see this. I’m hoping those that read this will pass it along to groups they might know. This has to stop. Before 2010, it never happened. It was gone again in 2013-14. All anyone has to do is go stand at the beginning of the outflow of the crap plant, look down stream and the source of all this algae is slapping you in the face.

And, while your at it, ask them about the pictures below.

I fished along the crap plant on April 5th and came across this.


They had just gone through and cut down all the brush between their fence and the river’s edge. Rather than remove it, they let it lay down along the bank and into the river. I’m assuming they figured that the usual spring high water would take it all down stream somewhere.

We never got very high water and today, June 13th, the brush still sits along the bank and in the river.


I would imagine there’s a law against doing this.

Or there should be.

14 thoughts on “Filamentous Algae is back with a Vengeance

  1. RK Henderson

    Boy, that’s annoying. We get that around here from agricultural and forestry run-off, but the river in the picture above is the worst case I’ve ever seen.

    Rusty Ring: Reflections of an Old-Timey Hermit

    1. Ken G Post author

      The pictures in the other link, Consider this Source, are even worse Robin. This kind of algae will always be around to some degree due to the misguided pursuit of the perfect weed free lawn. Everything flows to the river. But the concentration coming from the crap plant can and should be controlled. There’s simply no excuse for it.

    1. Ken G Post author

      It is Jim, especially since it’s avoidable.
      I know workers come out to the outflow to check on it a few times a day. I can’t believe none of them look down stream and see the problem. It’s as clear as day.

    1. Ken G Post author

      If they don’t stop it now Howard, the summer months will be much worse down stream. I’m going to let the conservation groups step up first and if that goes no where, my pain in the ass side will come out and I’ll annoy the hell out of them till I see results.

  2. Rick


    Nitrates in their effluent may be regulated by the state and feds, you can call them regarding the plant’s discharge permits. Cutting brush in riparian zones is typically a big no-no also. State Fish and Game, maybe Ecology, might be interested.

    1. Ken G Post author

      Rick, I know they have a winter blend and a summer blend when more people are out on the river. They changed that 5 years ago and failed. Seems like they’re trying it again. I put the word out to all I know around here that should follow through on this. I’ll see what happens and decide what to do next if I don’t like the end result.

  3. Matt

    What were you saying about not getting very high water? 🙂

    On a more serious note, it sucks that the algae is going to be back this year. I’ve really only been fishing/paying attention to the river for a few years now. There has definitely been a noticeable difference in all the algae from ’12 compared to ’13 and ’14.

    1. Ken G Post author

      Was talking to somebody at work about that today Matt. Gauge shows the water level going straight up and it’s at 7550 cfs right now. This is April levels in June. More rain all week. Should be interesting. I’ll probably go look when the water comes down, see if the brush disappeared like they wanted it to.

      If I don’t hear from anyone in a week, I’m going to pester the treatment plant people with email. Plus others. I want an answer and I don’t want to see that stretch from Oswego to Saw Wee Kee totally screwed up again.

  4. rdg

    Did you get any action about this?

    Why does the government still put “untreated” water into the river? Is it correct to say that this “untreated” water is raw sewage?

    If it was a private company instead of a government waste water plant, would the government levy hefty fines and/or shut down the facility?

    1. Ken G Post author

      I haven’t got any comments back from any one. A few days later we wound up with flood levels, so I can’t get back there. You can’t see what’s going on with the high water anyway. If it’s still there when the water comes down, I’m going to be a bit more aggressive about this.

      They have a winter and summer blend on how they treat the water. Wish I could find that original article where they said they were modifying the summer blend. It’s not untreated water, but the nitrates released are higher, which results in the algae. I’ll be going back. I think this is just unacceptable.

  5. rdg


    I was trying to remember a quote from the previous post you wrote titled “Consider this Source” I went back and tracked down the quote. You had a quote on your blog that stated:

    “She said they bypass treatment frequently and are discharging lots of nutrients into the river.”

    My question is, when someone says that “they bypass treatment frequently” Is it correct to say that it means that they frequently discharge raw sewage into the river?

    Basically, I want to clarify does “bypass treatment frequently” mean what I think it means?

    This is the first post I have commented on but I do check your blog regularly and appreciate all the updates you have posted about the status of the Fox River. I am interested to see if the landscape waste that the treatment plant placed on the banks of the river got washed down stream.

    1. Ken G Post author

      Thanks for reading and I wish I was fishing more for those that do expect more on the Fox. I have lots of lame pictures, but the fishing is getting in the way of the picture taking.

      It’s definitely not raw sewage. There are levels of treatment they can do to take out more of the nutrients. You probably remember the winter/summer blends I mentioned. They do less treating during the winter months figuring fewer people were out on the water. The cold weather keeps the algae from taking off.

      I’ve been slowly sending the link to this post out to those I know that can do something about it. We do have to wait till the water recedes to see how it all looks. I can get to the bank where all the brush was. I may go for a long walk this weekend to see if it all disappeared. I don’t get all that involved any more, no time, but this one just sticks in my craw. When it’s adversely affecting water for miles down stream, that’s just unacceptable.

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