At Last, Relief From a Stinky Lake

Finky the Blogger told us how for months and months, something smelled really bad in Mission Viejo, and the same source of the funk--think rotten eggs, high school locker rooms, Taco Bell kitchens--has been blamed for stinking up Rancho Santa Margarita.

No, that's not a reference to the RSM City Council passing a resolution supporting Arizona's SB 1070 and implementing the federal E-Verify program to ensure city vendors hire only employees eligible to work in the U.S.

It's a reference to a man-made lake.

That's not a lunar module but oxygenation equipment that was being installed in the Upper Oso Reservoir to keep the water well-oxygenated and healthy. The gizmo's name does sound space age: ECO2 Speece Cone. It mixes the lake's cold, deep water.
The Upper Oso Reservoir emits such a foul odor that residents from both municipalities lodge complaint after complaint with their cities and the the Santa Margarita Water District that oversees the drink.

Some even complained of eye, nose and throat irritation and other symptoms after the stench filled their neighborhoods--and no, that's not a reference to Murray the medical marijuana patient who moved in next door.

That--the odor, not Murray--is about the end, reports the Orange County Register.

The recently installed ECO2 Speece Cone, which will mix cold water deep in the lake, is expected to be fully operational by the end of the month. It's being placed by a dive crew at the bottom of the lake, 60 feet underwater.

The cone and other equipment should ensure the reservoir's oxygenation levels remain high enough to prevent algae blooms, which die off and then make a big stink.

"We're really expecting good results with this," Rich Kissee, the SMWD operations superintendent, tells the Reg (we'd imagine through a clothes-pinned nose). "We've also got a full stock of algaecides and chemicals that oxygenate the water, too, if need be."

As bad as the smell and nasty symptoms were, they never endangered anyone's health, maintains the SMWD. The South Coast Air Quality Management District seconds that emotion.

So, hang up on that ambulance chaser, fair citizen! 

Go to to get with the program and see photos like the one at the top of this page and this one here:

A month after the stink really took hold, the lake in November was aerated with ... a Water Wiggle?

Smell ya later, Finky!

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