Massive fly problem at Tempe Town Lake improving

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on September 9, 2010 at 7:18 AM

Updated Thursday, Sep 9 at 7:24 AM

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Repairs are under way on the Tempe Town Lake dam, but a new problem has residents of the area buzzing -- the fly population in and around the dry lake bed has exploded.

When one of the dam's four rubber bladder burst back in July, it sent nearly 1 billion gallons of water -- and the thousands of fish that lived there -- downstream. The fish used to feed on the eggs of midge flies, keeping the population under control. With the fish gone, the number of midge flies grew almost exponentially.

Residents who live in the area were not at all happy about the swarms of flies. Larvicide has been put down and the problem has since improved.

At this point, two of the four 40-ton dam bladders have been installed. Work on the third on is under way. The fourth bladder is due to arrive next month.

Right now crews are placing millions of pounds of boulders at the base of the dam to fortify it and help prevent erosion.

Crews said work is on track to have the lake refilled by early November, just in time for Ironman Arizona.

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