Monday, August 5th, 2013

Lake officials report marked improvement in quality of water

By William Kincaid
CELINA - Lake officials are seeing tremendous success with a treatment train project and oxygen-emitting linear aeration.
But Lake Improvement Association President Tim Lovett stressed at the group's monthly meeting Saturday morning that much more work must be done.
"I think it's important that everybody understand ... none of us are standing up here saying this lake is perfect and fixed - we're not saying that," Lovett told LIA members at the Celina Moose. "What we're saying is, is that in terms of where we were last year, two years, three years, five years ago, we believe we have made ... (an) impact on the community."
People are starting to see the water quality turn around, and though liver toxins known as microcystin are detectable, the levels of 40 parts per billion need to be kept in perspective, Lovett said, noting that the young, the old and people with compromised immune systems could be negatively affected if they swallow the water.
But the numbers are starting to move a little and will continue to do so when an additional treatment train is installed, he said.
"We still do have elevated microcystin toxins," said state park manager Brian Miller. "The protocol is if those (levels) are above 6 (parts per billion), we have to have a public recreational advisory, and they sill are above 6 when we do our testing."
Adding oxygen to channels on Grand Lake is improving water quality and spurring the return of aquatic vegetation not seen for a long time, according to Miller.
Many homeowners along channels have installed about 100 feet of the linear aeration tubing, which sits in the middle of the channel on the lake's bottom and emits a continuous stream of tiny bubbles visible on the surface. The system is removed during the winter.
"One of the areas that we pull microcystin from is from Mr. (Jeff) Vossler's channel back at Behm's (Landing) ... and I'm just so happy to tell you that the last two rounds of sampling, the last two weeks, microcystin toxins have been non-detectable back where Mr. Vossler and his neighbors are doing linear aeration," Miller said.
Milt Miller, manager of the Lake Restoration Commission, offered a positive report on the Prairie Creek Treatment Train on the south side of the lake, a system that acts as a natural filter to reduce harmful nutrients such as phosphorous - the main nutrient feeding the lake's toxic blue-green algae.
Water comes in the train raw from Prairie Creek and is leaving with 10-fold decrease in phosphorous, Milt Miller said as he showed pictures of the area.
"And as you can see, that water is absolutely crystal clear, and when you give mother nature a chance with healthy water, that's how the vegetation has just exploded in the treatment train," he said.
"What is so dramatic in a good picture is ... this is healthy, chocolate brown water, and that's what we remember, and that's where we want to get to again," he said.
The state is providing $2.1 million for the development of a Coldwater Creek Treatment Train, which will be constructed at the state wildlife refuge near U.S. 127 and state Route 703.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources provided $1.1 million for the Prairie Creek project.
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