During hot weather, Hodgenville City Hall fields numerous complaints about a bad taste or smell from residents’ tap water.
The culprit is algae blooms which give off a gas that is repugnant to taste buds, said Hodgenville Mayor Terry Cruse. When chlorine is added to the water supply to purify it, the algae emits a musty smell.
Since chemicals do not seem to be improving the problem, the Mayor sought a “green” solution to reduce the algae.
After some research, the City purchased 400 triploid grass carp to control the algae in Salem Lake. The 80-acre lake provides the majority of water to residents.
“The grass carp eat three times their weight per day of algae,” Cruse said.
The fish, also called white amur, weighed about two pounds at release and cost $9 each. They are hybrids, meaning they will not reproduce and will require re-stocking periodically. Cruse anticipates purchasing 40 to 50 replacement fish each year.
“It’s a little bit expensive up front but we top that easily on chemicals,” Cruse said. “Everybody that has used (the carp) have had great success with them.”
Cruse said the carp were stocked in Sportsman’s Lake and took care of the algae problem there. The City may stock the fish in McDougal Lake in the future.
Signs will be placed at Salem Lake, asking that sportsmen release grass carp if they happen to catch one. The fish “are not supposed to be easy to catch,” Cruse said.
Several other lakes in Kentucky ask that grass carp be released and at Lake Reba in Madison County, it is illegal to harvest grass carp.
Grass carp don’t appear to interfere with game fish populations, according to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
The fish were purchased from Whiskers Catfish Farm in Bowling Green.