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Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Celina Rotary Club lands grant for lake aerator

By Nancy Allen
CELINA - A grant snagged by the Celina Rotary Club will fund the installation of linear aeration in Pullman Bay along Lake Shore Drive this spring.
The $5,000 grant is from the District 600 Rotary, said club member Jim Mustard on Tuesday. Of the total, $4,300 will be used by the club to buy the equipment and the balance will go to the city to run electricity to the site, pour a concrete pad for the air compressor and install the system, Mustard said. The city will continue to pay for the electricity and maintenance, he said.
Many homeowners along Grand Lake channels have a system in place to add oxygen to the water, said Tuesday's Rotary speaker Joe Lochtefeld of Diversified Pond Supplies, a local business that sells the systems. Linear aeration tubing sits in the middle of the channel on the lake's bottom and emits a continuous stream of air, which creates tiny bubbles visible on the surface of the water.
"Just like the song says, tiny bubbles are best," he said, eliciting chuckles from the crowd over the reference to the song by Don Ho. "Tiny bubbles take longer to get to the surface and takes more of the water to the surface with it."
Adding oxygen to dead-end channels and coves on the lake is improving water quality and spurring the return of aquatic life not seen for a long time, he said.
Lochtefeld showed some slides of a giant clam and Bryozoa, a gelatinous, blob-like animal found in Behm's Landing channel after aeration was added. Both creatures are indicators of improved water quality.
Lochtefeld said the systems are easy to install.
Agitating and aerating water disrupts algae formation and adding oxygen reduces the amount of sediment on the lake's bottom. The muck layer in a channel at Behm's Landing where aeration was added in 2009 dropped between 3 and 10 inches over a four-month period, he said. Blue-green algae toxin levels in the channel were reduced to non-detectable levels, he added.
The systems also work to keep water open around docks and lessen ice damage to the structures, Lochtefeld said.
Worsening toxic, blue-green algae blooms in recent years on the lake have coated channels with scum and caused more frequent fish kills. The algae depletes water of oxygen when it decomposes.
"What this is doing is giving Mother Nature a chance to take care of itself," he said.  
The Celina Lion's Club made a similar donation to the city last year to install linear aeration in the hot water hole channel along Lake Shore Drive.
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