In order to combat a years-long algae bloom problem in Lake Whelchel, BPW officials have turned to an unconventional method – installing floating wetlands. A growing science, floating wetlands are large mats that contain a variety of plants and are anchored into bodies of water. The mats float on top of the water, but over time, the plants grow by extracting nutrients from the water. Some of these nutrients cause algae to bloom, which has been a thorn in Lake Whelchel’s side for the past three years. In fact, BPW officials were forced to shut down Lake Whelchel, which is our county’s primary water source, to boaters and fishers in the summers of 2019 and 2021. During that time, BPW water operators implemented additional treatment procedures to maintain normal water taste and odor until the algae were eliminated. But in order to be proactive, Water Superintendent Bryant Fleming and Lab Director Zane Knight decided to look for a better solution this year.