ST. MARYS, OHIO (www.incnow.tv) – The restoration manager for Grand Lake St. Marys says it is too early to discern whether treatment processes for blue-green algae have been a success over the last two years.
Blue-green algae treatment began at the lake in 2010 after the toxic algae blossomed to cover the massive body of water. Treatment, or alum treatment, is a chemical process that clings to phosphorus in the water and drags it to the lake’s bottom. Phosphorus, which enters the lake through rain water runoff, is the food for blue-green algae and allows the toxic material to sustain life. The treatment cost over two years is $8.5 million with the funds provided by Ohio’s principle forgiveness fund.
According to Milt Miller, Grand Lake St. Marys restoration manager, phosphorus levels in 2011 dropped by nearly 30 percent after treatment in 2010. In the same breath, Miller also says internal loading, the silt on the bottom of the lake made through the alum process, dropped by 37 percent.
What remains unclear, however, is how those same figures fared in 2012 after treatment in April. Miller says there can only be speculation at this point.
“Until those numbers are there, they're reluctant and understandably so, to speak to the success of 0-12. You know, all we can say is we don't think it failed. In fact, we've been very proactive, encouraging people to come back.”
Getting people to come back has been a fight for a lake that saw $200 million a year in tourism dollars and sustained 2,400 jobs prior to the outbreak in 2009. Miller says there have not been any reported illnesses from the algae and that fishing and boating are up on the lake this year.
Miller says the findings for 2012 should be released before year’s end.
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