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Shocking fish death photo reveals extent of HOA's wanton water mismanagement: '[It's] hard to penalize stupidity'

The management was lacking at best.

Excess algae in the lake

Photo Credit: iStock

In August, a frustrated Redditor asked what they could do about a homeowners association's carelessness that harmed a neighborhood it didn't even manage.

HOAs are well known for making life difficult for residents who want to upgrade their homes or yards. Some are also sloppy and wasteful with the neighborhood common areas and funds they manage. But typically, that kind of clumsy, lazy management would only affect actual residents of the HOA.

This time, a Redditor said that a neighboring HOA had ruined an entire lake, affecting the Redditor's parents, who lived on the other side.

Photo Credit: u/joshmrallen / Reddit

"The HOA of the townhouse complex across the lake from my parents' house owns and manages the said lake," the Redditor said.

According to them, the management was lacking at best. "There are aerators throughout the lake to keep the biome healthy and prevent algae overgrowth," they said. "In recent years, the aerators broke down one by one; they remained unrepaired and are still inoperative at the moment of this posting."

That lack of maintenance inevitably led to excess algae in the lake. That's a problem because it can choke out other pond life, such as plants and fish.

The HOA's solution, however, was worse. "The HOA somehow came to the decision to 'treat' the lake by dumping a chemical to kill the algae," the original poster said. "It killed everything in the lake."

The attached photo was grim: dozens of dead fish floating in the murky water near the shore.

"My parents and some other neighbors reported it to Fish and Wildlife, but I was wondering if that's the right route," said the user. "Should they go through the local city regulation also? Is there something the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] can do to help?"

Sadly, commenters didn't think the original poster had many options. "If it's privately owned and not connected to another waterway there is likely little you can do," said one user. "Hard to penalize stupidity."

Homeowners who disagree with an HOA's decisions can follow the association's bylaws to change rules and challenge decisions. For those with an algae problem, pond dye is an effective way to limit algae growth while protecting the fish and the environment.

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