Everything Was Fine, Until the Algae Started Eating Tourists.

CC image via dctim1 on Flickr

A month ago, the National Park Service wrapped up a big repair project at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. The project, which sucked up $34 million “stimulus” dollars was supposed to leave the pool in better condition while also making it more “sustainable” and make the water quality better.

So far, so good. The memorial looks great. It’s not leaking water, which it used to do because it’s a giant concrete (or mostly concrete) pool sitting on what was originally swamp land. Sure, it cost us a lot of money we’ll have to pay back one day, but it’s the Lincoln Memorial. I, for one, want it to last a good long while.

And it will, at least until the algae takes over.

Yep, the “sustainable” pool is experiencing a bit of an algae bloom right now, which isn’t exactly improving the quality of the water. Officials say they need to tweak the amount of ozone in the water and blame the problem on a new system and bad water from DC. They say they’ll get it right, and I’m sure they eventually will, but shouldn’t we expect just a little bit better considering the price tag?

Or is this just a case where nature is big and complex and sometimes things like this happen, even on expensive projects that come with all sorts of pink cloud unicorn talk about sustainability and government competence?