Combining Adaptive Management with Alum and Phoslock, the Long Lake Story

Today started the first phase of the Long Lake Adaptive Management Program to help correct years of toxic algae blooms.  The lake is a 330 acre water body in Thurston County Washington.  It has experienced closures for toxic algae blooms over the year including recent summer seasons.  They were looking for a solution that would help mitigate the problems that cyanobacteria cause including lake closure.

Phosphorus is a key driver of cyanobacteria blooms.  When levels are high, these species have a competitive advantage over beneficial algae species because they can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere.  Removing phosphorus as a source in the water column limits the carrying capacity of the lake to produce these blooms.

There has been a school of thought over the years that expensive studies are necessary to come up with plans to fix these problems.  These generally result in costs that would often go a long way toward actually mitigating the problem.  After the study is performed, work proceeds to implement the recommendation of the studies and these often claim they will last for years.

Recent examples are aluminum sulfate treatments designed to “reset” the lake and cap lake sediments, a primary source of phosphorus loading in many lake systems.  These are also generally expensive ventures and while they are “designed” to correct problems for decades, they generally last well short of the lifespan assumed in the study.

Adaptive management is a concept that can be implemented at a much lower cost.  Initial data collection and stakeholder input is reviewed.  If there are data gaps, then those are identified and additional sampling occurs.  With that information, a prescription is developed to alleviate the problem, the prescription is implemented and follow-on monitoring tracks results.  As results are known, additional follow-on work can be suggested and implemented.

The Long Lake prescription was designed to utilize two different phosphorus sequestering technologies.  The first application is happening this week.

Our biologists are using Aluminum Sulfate to target and sequester the phosphorus available in the lake water column.  This will remove much of the P load that would fuel algae growth in the early and mid-summer months.   A video of the alum floc forming behind the application vessel can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/FFMACktYu4M

A second application will be made this coming week with Phoslock.  Phoslock is a phosphorus sequestering technology that was developed by the Australia Government to combat Harmful Algae Blooms (HAB) and reduce the threat of waterborne toxins to pets, wildlife and human health.  This technology is different that aluminum sulfate.  The Phoslock captures free reactive phosphorus present in the water column and converts it to a mineral that will remain inert.  Phoslock also caps the lake sediments effectively.

In this case the Phoslock application will target the lake sediments below the thermocline where during the summer months anoxic conditions can lead to sediment phosphorus release.

Ongoing monitoring will adjust the program as necessary over the coming years.

The result of this program is forecast to be significantly less than many similar projects in the Pacific Northwest.

Aquatechnex announces Montana Office

Aquatechnex has opened an office in Missoula, MT to serve the needs of the region.

There has been a significant expansion of Eurasian Milfoil in Montana in recent years.  Aquatechnex has a long history of being able to restore lake and river systems impacted by this invasive aquatic weed.  One of the key tools we have for Montana Milfoil Control is ProcellaCOR herbicide.  This technology will selectively target this plant, it will translocate and control the entire plant and will not impact native aquatic plants allowing them to recover.  ProcellaCOR is available through SePRO Pro Certified Applicators and our team has qualified as such.  We are the only Pro Certified Applicator based in Montana and look forward to helping the deal with this expanding problem Pro Certified ProcellaCOR Applicator.

Another problem facing Montana waters are toxic algae blooms.  Many species of cyanobacteria produce acute toxins that can impact wildlife, pets and human health.  They are also directly linked to longer term chronic diseases such as ALS.  Harmful Algae Blooms or HAB are nutrient driven.  As phosphorus pollution increases, HAB species have a competitive advantage.  The Montana State HAB map is shown here State of Montana HAB Map

Montana Harmful Algae Blooms can be targeted and reduced.  Aquatechnex biologists have a number of US EPA registered tools that can treat and mitigate the bloom condition.  We also are expert in the use of Phoslock to remove phosphorus and reduce the carrying capacity of the lake to produce HAB blooms.  We use nanobubble technology to target blooms in smaller lake systems effectively.  We can also install remote HAB monitoring buoys that give us a heads up when conditions are approaching treatment thresholds.

For more information please contact us at 855-245-5253

Nanobubbles for Lake Restoration and Algae Management

For decades we have known that providing dissolved oxygen to the lower layer of lakes can improve water quality.  Lakes can stratify thermally in the spring and summer months isolating the lower layer from the atmosphere.  When that happens, aerobic bacteria can consume the dissolved oxygen that is trapped there in short order and that causes a number of chemical and biological changes to occur.  The primary method of solving this problem has been aeration.

In the last year Nanobubble generators have burst onto the scene.  These systems pump water from the lake into the generator and return water laced with Nanobubbles to the lake.  Nanobubbles are extremely small and negatively buoyant.  About 2,000 of them are smaller than a grain of sand.  These bubbles disperse through the lake.  As they “bump” into organic material, they attach and burst delivering oxygen.  This action will also cause a hydroxyl radical to form and that chemistry can oxidize algae cells and the toxins they may produce.  This can provide 24/7 algae control and over time supplement other lake management activities.

Nanobubble Algae Management Study at ASU

Another unique feature of this type of control is that you can oxygenate the lower portion of the water column without disrupting the thermal stratification that is occurring.  This can provide refuge for fish in the cooler deeper waters.

Aquatechnex can provide a Nanobubble system sized to your lake.  These can be sold directly to your orgainzation, or they can be part of an overall lake management program we perform for you with a set monthly fee.  For more information please get in touch at [email protected]

New HAB/Toxic Algae Monitoring and Response System

This buoy measures chlorophyll a and the pigment that is unique to HAB Blue Green Algae and uploads to the Cloud every 15 minutes. We can monitor your lake from our computer or phone and respond

Aquatechnex biologists have deployed the first of many algae monitoring buoys for our clients in Southern California.  This system measures a number of water quality parameters and reports via onboard cellular system every 15 minutes.  Two of the key parameters measured are Chlorophyll a with provides a measure of algae biomass and Phycocyanin which is a pigment that is unique to Blue Green Algae species.  Blue green algae or cyanobacteria are toxin producers that cause significant problems in our nations lakes and reservoirs.

Every day we examine conditions in these lakes remotely.  When we see Chlorophyll a or Phycocyanin levels increase, we mobilize treatment teams to target and control that growth before it becomes a full blown bloom or toxin producing event.  This allows us to be more proactive and responsive in our mission to keep your lakes free from toxin producing conditions.

To sign up for this service please fill out our contact form and we will get with you shortly.

Phoslock Work Continues to Impress

Free Reactive Phosphorus drops to near below detection

Aquatechnex pioneered the use of Phoslock technology to improve water quality in Western US Lake Systems starting in 2010.  We have treated over 20 water bodies with similar results, a dramatic reduction in Phosphorus available in the water column to sustain toxic algae populations.

The latest project in Southern California continues this trend.  Our team has been combating cyanobacteria blooms in this lake for a number of years using conventional treatment technology.  While applying US EPA registered algaecides provided relief, this was more of a reactionary approach to the situation.  The team had to monitor algae levels and target the lake for treatment when cell count and/or species shifts to blue greens indicated the lake was beyond management thresholds.

This May Phoslock was applied following a management plan developed for the lake.  The application took approximately four days to complete.

Sampling results in the months since look extremely promising.  We have noted no problem algae blooms and the algae that is present is beneficial.  Transparency has improved dramatically.  Total phosphorus levels have dropped dramatically and continue to trend down.  The ortho or free reactive phosphorus has seen a dramatic drop.

We will continue to monitor and report on this project as time goes on.