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Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Ultrasonic device may be used to kill algae

By Nancy Allen
Lake Improvement Association members want to spend $1,000 to rent a device that emits sound waves to kill blue-green algae in Grand Lake.
LIA members approved spending the money on Saturday, but still need state approval to use the device in the lake. It reportedly is not harmful to humans, wildlife or fish, information on the device states.
Called an ultrasonic transducer, the device emits sound waves that break down the cells in the algae. One transducer can treat more than an acre area, LIA President Bill Ringo said. It would be placed at a testing site, probably a channel or backwater area, where it can be monitored easily and is close to a power supply. The device runs on either solar power or regular 120- and 240-volt electricity, depending on the size of the unit, he said.
Miles Strand, an LDC member, is an audio engineer and has been researching the device. He and member Jeff Vossler are working together on the project, Ringo said.
The ultrasonic transducer would hang against a seawall or shoreline for about three months.
Ringo said he has heard there are some folks who live on the lake who are considering buying one. One of the more affordable models costs about $4,000, he said.
"This is something that demonstrates we are willing to go to whatever ends to find a solution to our blue-green algae problems," Ringo said.
Vossler said the LIA will for the third consecutive year place barley straw in lake channels, another means of killing blue-green algae. Water quality testing done by Wright State University-Lake Campus biology professor Robert Hiskey shows it reduces the amount of algae.
Excessive nutrients in the lake that come mostly from runoff from farmland feed the blue-green algae. The algae cuts off oxygen to fish and other aquatic life and is what gives the lake its characteristic green, murky color. Algae blooms have been getting worse over the years, Hiskey has said. Once only present during warmer months, the algae now is present year round.
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