The Tempe Town Lake in Tempe, Arizona, has had to cancel its “Splash and Dash” event scheduled for the evening of April 26th, due to a pH level that is above levels allowed by federal regulation, according to an email sent out by the event’s organizers. The venue is scheduled to host the USA Swimming Open Water National Championships for the first time this year – a week after the cancelled event.
The “Splash and Dash” is a USA Triathlon sanctioned event, and it is unknown at this point whether they will attempt to reschedule the event or perhaps reschedule and relocate it. Tempe Town Lake is also set to host the “Cactus Man” event this coming weekend, which is another USA Triathalon sanctioned event, and they have announced that the event is still set to be held as scheduled, as employees try to get the pH level under control.
The lake is under the jurisdiction of the federal government, which requires that bodies of water used for swimming have a pH of 9.0 or less. The lake had been consistently at a pH of 9.2 in recent days, and when the water was tested this morning, they had gotten it down to 9.1, but that is still too high. The City of Tempe believes the spike in pH to be caused by higher than normal levels of golden algae. Golden algae kills fish, and the city believes this is what primarily caused the pH to increase.
USA Swimming is set to hold Open Water Nationals at Tempe Town Lake on May 4th-6th, adding to concerns about getting the pH in the lake to regulation levels. We have reached out to USA Swimming asking if they have an alternative plan for Open Water Nationals in the event that Tempe Town Lake is unsafe to compete in, but haven’t received a response yet.