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Because the source of the industrial fuels has been predominantly material of infinite geological age ( e.g coal, petroleum), whose radiocarbon content is nil, the radiocarbon activity of the atmosphere has been lowered in the early part of the 20th century up until the 1950's.
The atmospheric radiocarbon signal has, in effect, been diluted by about 2%.
Since about 1955, thermonuclear tests have added considerably to the C14 atmospheric reservoir.
This C14 is 'artificial' or 'bomb' C14, produced because nuclear bombs produce a huge thermal neutron flux.
The logical conclusion from this was that in order to obtain a modern radiocarbon reference standard, representing the radiocarbon activity of the 'present day', one could not very well use wood which grew in the 1900's since it was affected by this industrial effect.
Radiocarbon samples which obtain their carbon from a different source (or reservoir) than atmospheric carbon may yield what is termed apparent ages.
In such a case, it is very difficult to ascertain the precise reservoir difference and hence apply a correction to the measured radiocarbon age.
Spurious radiocarbon dates caused by volcanic emanations of radiocarbon-depleted CO2 probably also come under the category of reservoir corrections.
Thus, it dilutes the activity of the lake meaning that the radioactivity is depleted in comparison to 14C activity elsewhere.
The lake, in this case, has a different radiocarbon reservoir than that of the majority of the radiocarbon in the biosphere and therefore an accurate radiocarbon age requires that a correction be made to account for it.