For years, rotting algae pushed against the Charlotte Pier by winds and currents has been the bane of people trying to cool off in the summer with a swim at Ontario Beach Park.
The decaying algae drives up bacteria levels and forces health officials to close the beach -- and the smell is unforgettable. Work has now started on a project to correct the problem by vacuuming the gunk through a pipe that will pump it into the Genesee River.
Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks says the river currents will carry it out into the lake as they used to do before the pier was built. Work started on the project today, and Brooks says the county is hoping this will mean many more days the beach will be open for swimming.
The state is paying $400,000 for a contractor to install the pumping system under a recommendation from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The county is also investing in some equipment to rake algae from the beach and into the suction pipe.