Brynn Grimley (253) 983-7761 • Fax (253) 589-3774 •
Communications Manager

Sixteen years ago the city initiated a volunteer effort led by the Pierce Conservation District to monitor the water quality of the city’s lakes to evaluate trends and compare the data against state water quality standards.

Initially only three of the city’s six lakes – American, Gravelly and Louise – were monitored annually. Lake Steilacoom was added to the list in 2004 and Waughop Lake was added in 2011.

Carp Lake is also monitored when it has water.

Last year the city hired WEST Consultants, Inc. to analyze the conservation district’s data collected since 2000. The purpose was to determine whether the makeup of the lake water has changed over time.

Overall the data showed little change in the water quality from prior years, according to the report.

Each of the city’s six lakes showed a warming trend during the summer, when temperatures are hotter, and cooler temperatures in the winter, which is to be expected.

The lakes also registered decreased oxygen levels, and saw year-to-year increases in water clarity, but overall there were no clear annual trends regarding dissolved oxygen levels, temperature fluctuations or alkalinity, according to the report.

A number of factors like size and depth, as well as rainfall and runoff from nearby properties affect the quality of our lake water.

Findings from the report included:

  • Alkalinity remains relatively uniform in most lakes, but are significantly decreasing in American and Waughop Lakes. Alkalinity is a measure of a lake’s ability to neutralize acids – which is important as it relates to aquatic plant and animal life.
  • Overall chlorophyll_a decreases in American Lake, Gravelly Lake, Lake Louise and Carp Lake are statistically significant. Chlorophyll_a is a measure of the amount of algae growing in the water.
  • Dissolved oxygen levels are statistically uniform in all lakes, and show no year-to-year variations. Dissolved oxygen (DO) is an important indicator of the health of the water and its capacity to support a balanced system of plants and fish.
  • Total phosphorus levels are statistically uniform in the lower reaches and upper reaches of all the lakes, except for a weakly significant decrease in the upper reaches of Gravelly Lake. Phosphorus is an essential element for aquatic plant life, but if there is too much it can speed up the aging of a lake.
  • Ammonia levels are significantly decreasing in the lower reaches of American, Gravelly, Louise and Steilacoom Lake.  Levels are also weakly increasing (marginal significance) in the upper reaches of American Lake, but significantly decreasing in the upper reaches of Louise and Steilacoom Lakes. Too much ammonia is harmful to fish and other aquatic organisms.
  • Transparency is slightly trending (marginal significance showing either increasing or decreasing) in American Lake, Gravelly Lake, Steilacoom Lake, Lake Louise and Waughop Lake, and increasing in Carp Lake (although the data set for Carp Lake is small). Transparency measures water clarity – the clearer the water the better.
  • The depth of thermal stratification is remaining constant in all lakes. Water temperature changes at the thermal stratification layer in lakes. Denser, colder water is near the bottom of the lake; less dense, warmer water is near the surface. Thermal stratification is most prevalent in the summer months.

The lakes were tested twice a month between May and October from 2000 to 2004. Then in 2005 monitoring decreased to once a month during the same period.

Review the 2016 Lake report from Pierce Conservation District here.

Review the Pierce Conservation District 2016 data summary spreadsheet here.

Review the Pierce Conservatoin District 2016 data here.

Review West Consultants, Inc. analysis report here.

Review West Consultants, Inc. appendices here.

A routine, annual increase is set to take effect in Lakewood June 1, pending City Council review.

The increase is being proposed by Harold LeMay Enterprises, Inc. (also known as LeMay Pierce County Refuse) because of a 2.1 percent cost of living adjustment and a 5.24 percent disposal rate increase at the Pierce County Landfill that went into effect March 1. The Pierce County Council previously approved the landfill rate increase.

The city contracts with LeMay for its waste collection service.

For the average residential customer who has a 65-gallon garbage can that is picked up once a week with recycling service, the rate will go up from $34.36 to $35.48.

For the average commercial business with a 2-yard container that is picked up weekly the rate will go up from $172.17 to $177.73.

Click here to view the proposed 2017 rates.

Click here to view the 2016 rates.

The annual rate schedule can be found on the city website under Public Works, related documents.

At Monday's City Council meeting the council honored Sgt. First Class Dan Figuracion, who died April 3 at 97 years old.

Figuracion was a decorated World War II veteran, Batan Death March survivor, a decorated Vietnam War veteran and a member of the Philippine Scouts for the U.S. Army. He was a member of the 26th Regiment Cavalry that conducted the last horse-mounted charge against armed troops in the Army's history.

He and other Philippine Scouts rode their horses, guns firing, at Japanese tanks and machine infantry in an attempt to stop the Japanese from taking over a city. They were successful and held them at bay until reinforcements arrived.

Figuracion was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (then Fort Lewis) in the 1960s - his family joined him in Lakewood in 1968. After retiring from the Army Figuracion stayed in the community and remained active with veteran's groups. He was a national hero in the Philippines.




Improvement projects totaling $56.5 million are planned for Lakewood’s roads over the next six years. Between now and 2018 there are 30 projects slated for completion, totaling $28 million.

That’s a lot.

To help keep people informed the city created an interactive map that will live on the city’s website. It indicates completed (green), in progress (orange) and upcoming (gray) projects on the city’s 431 miles of roadway.

Here’s a look at some of the more visible projects:

  • South Tacoma Way: state Route 512 to 96th Street: Good news, this project is expected to wrap up by summer. When finished South Tacoma Way will be wider with shared bike lanes, concrete curb and gutter and sidewalks. Also added: LED street lighting, updated traffic signals at state Route 512, 100th and 96th streets and new pavement. A gateway entrance sign with the neighborhood designation will be built in the island at 100th Street.
  • South Tacoma Way: Steilacoom Boulevard to 88th Street: Road widening continues for shared bike lanes, concrete curb and gutters, sidewalks, LED street lighting, new traffic signal at Steilacoom Boulevard and 88th Street intersection and new pavement. A second right turn lane will be added to Steilacoom Boulevard onto South Tacoma Way to make it safer and faster to pass through the intersection.
  • Gravelly Lake Drive: 100th Street to Bridgeport Way: This sidewalk project also adds curb and gutter to Gravelly Lake Drive from 100th Street to Bridgeport Way Once completed there will be continuous sidewalks on Gravelly Lake Drive from 112th Street to Bridgeport Way.
  • Lakewood Drive reconstruction/overlay: 100th Street to Steilacoom Boulevard: Pavement reconstruction planned from 100th Street to Steilacoom Boulevard. New curb and gutter and concrete sidewalks will be added to the western side of the road.
  • Sidewalks are coming to Lakeview Ave/112th St from Kendrick St to Steilacoom Boulevard to improve pedestrian safety as part of a state Department of Transportation-funded project to mitigate for the high-speed trains that will soon pass through the city.

2017-18 projects

  • 2017 chip seal program Oakbrook
  • Repave Onyx Drive SW from 87th to 89th streets
  • Military Road and 112th Street safety improvements
  • Safety improvements to 40th and 96th streets
  • Gravelly Lake Drive improvements Washington Boulevard to Nyanza
  • Gravelly Lake Drive improvements, 59th Street to Steilacoom Boulevard
  • Safe Routes to Schools: John Dower and Phillips roads
  • Dekoven Drive traffic calming project

Click here to see a comprehensive list of road projects planned for the next six years (2017-2022). 

Want to know where the City Council stands on expanding the city's housing opportunities? What about the latest transportation and parks projects? Or how about details of our upcoming Farmers Market (opening June 6) and our annual SummerFEST party in Fort Steilacoom Park?

These stories and more are in the latest edition of the Lakewood Connections Magazine Spring/Summer 2017 edition.

Copies went out via U.S. Postal Service May 3.

You can also view the publication online by clicking here.


Two Union Civil War Soldiers who were buried at the Western State Hospital Historic Patient Cemetery at Fort Steilacoom Park will receive a proper headstone dedication Saturday.

Sergeant Oliver W. Bean, Company D, 5th Wisconsin Infantry and Private Thomas Blanchard, Company I, 4th New York Heavy Artillery will be honored during the ceremony. 

Both graves were previously unmarked. 

The headstone of Sergeant Charles Wesley Cooley, Company G, 49th Ohio Infantry will also be rededicated.

The ceremony is part of a larger effort of the small non-profit Grave Concerns Association, which has worked for nearly two decades to identify and properly mark the grave sites of thousands of former Western State Hospital patients buried between 1876 and 1953 in the nearby cemetery.

Saturday’s ceremony is the result of work by the Gov. Isaac Stevens Camp No. 1, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), supported by Co. B, 71st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Sons of Veterans Reserve and the Grave Concerns Association.

Research done by SUVCW member James Dimond led to the identification of the unmarked graves of Bean and Blanchard. 

Members of the Grave Concerns Association say there are three additional unmarked graves of Civil War veterans in the cemetery. They plan to dedicate those headstones at a future date when family members are present.

Military funeral honors will be rendered during Saturday’s ceremony. That includes a three-volley rifle salute.

Residents in and around the park between 2 and 3 p.m. Saturday could hear gunfire and should not be alarmed.

The dedication is will follow a 1917 ritual of the Grand Army of the Republic, which is modeled after a ceremony performed in 1868 for headstone dedications of Civil War veterans.

A black powder rifle will be used to fire the blanks to commemorate the end of the ceremony. The salute will be followed by the playing of taps.  

In addition to the three Civil War gravestones, Grave Concerns Association volunteers will install a total of 30 headstones to replace the markers that currently only show a number marking the grave location.The group goes out roughly twice a year to replace the markers with headstones that honor those who have died, listing their names and then birth and death dates.They are able to do the work through community donations, grants and this year received money from the city's Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.

Saturday's ceremony begins at 2 p.m. at the Western State Hospital Historic Patient Cemetery at 9601 Steilacoom Boulevard.

Click here to read more about the Grave Concerns Association and to see a map of the cemetery.

We are accepting applications from vendors interested in showing at our weekly Farmers Market, held Tuesdays in Towne Center starting June 6, and our annual SummerFEST festival held this year on July 8 at Fort Steilacoom Park.

See below for more:





Lakewood Farmers Market

The Lakewood Farmers Market takes place June 6 – September 12, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Tuesdays in Lakewood Towne Center.

Join our close-knit, friendly family of vendors! We are seeking crafters and artisans. Deadline is May 15.

Click here for the vendor application . Contact Sally Martinez (253) 983-7758 for more informaiton.






SummerFEST Vendors

Businesses, health and fitness entrepreneurs, artisans, crafters, and organizations are invited to join Lakewood SummerFEST July 8 and gain exposure to 15,000 people. 

With over 25 sporting activities, art, live music, food trucks, international festival, car show and more this free festival engages people of all ages. Contact Sally Martinez at (253) 983-7758 or email  .

Application and event details on our SummerFEST page


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