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Delavan Lake - A Water Cleanup Success Story

Updated on April 7, 2010

Delavan Lake, WI

The Delavan Lake Sanitary District Creates a Safe Environment for Visitors and Residents

Delavan Lake is located in southern Wisconsin, just two hours north of Chicago. This lake has become a popular destination for both local residents and tourists. Visitors enjoy boating, swimming and fishing on the lake as well as the natural preserves, parks and picnic sites in the area. Several resorts are located on the lake, offering relaxing accommodations for visitors.

Though it attracts tourists and local residents today, Delavan Lake was not always a popular destination. In the 1940s, Delavan suffered from a serious decline in water quality due to wastewater discharges, failing septic systems and the busy development in nearby areas. Because of these issues, the fish population became severely unhealthy and blue-green algae blooms sprouted all over the lake. The types of aquatic plants species in Delavan Lake also plummeted from 14 to three during this time.

In response to the poor water quality in the lake, the Delavan Lake Sanitary District (DLSD) was formed in 1969. This organization created proper sewerage systems for the properties surrounding Delavan Lake, which effectively eliminated lake pollution from septic drain field systems. The DLSD also provided chemical treatments to rid the lake of nuisance algae and constructed a sanitary sewer system around the lake.

These efforts were only the beginning, however. In 1983, the DLSD partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey to perform a complete examination of the hydrology and water quality of Delavan Lake. As a result, the DLSD completed a major restoration which involved fishery eradication, wetland creation, an alum treatment and short-circuiting of lake inflow.

Thanks to the efforts of the DLSD, Delavan Lake is now a clean and safe environment that can be enjoyed by visitors and residents.  The DLSD is constantly working to maintain the safe and healthy environment at Delavan Lake through maintenance of the collection system. Additionally, the DLSD works with local residents to keep the lake clear of nuisance algae. Today, Delavan Lake boasts clear waters and a healthy fish population that are enjoyed by swimmers and fishermen from all over the region. The Delavan Lake Sanitary District is committed to keeping the lake clean for years to come.


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    • jeffwend profile image

      jeffwend 5 years ago from Michigan

      Peter, that is awful to hear. I will forward your message to the Delavan Lake Sanitary District.

    • profile image

      Peter 5 years ago

      Jeff, I spent this Sunday at Lake Delavan and I can tell you it is not a success story.... the water is disgusting!!! Whatever they tried to do to clean it up fell short. It had a thick layer of algae over the entire lake.. I saw nobody swimming out there... sorry. I think the only would be to drain the entire lake and start fresh.