Pilot program used to clear algal blooms in Mantua

Sep 25, 2023, 6:45 PM

MANTUA, Box Elder — Scientists are working to clear algal blooms from Mantua Reservoir. They’re studying a new approach that they say is safe for fish and wildlife and could end up costing taxpayers nothing.

There is some white product out on the reservoir that floats and attaches to the algal blooms, oxidizing them, and causing them to give up and die.

The work will hopefully serve as a pilot for many more projects like it across the country.

A day at the lake can be a bit less pleasant when the water is that pea-soup green.

“I ride around this lake every day almost, and I’ve seen it just every day get worse and worse,” Michael Burnett said.  “Yeah, I don’t let my dogs in the water. Nope.

That algae and cyanobacteria in there is, to say the least, more than an eyesore.

Burnett said, “I love my dogs. I ain’t going to let them get killed, haha.

That’s why scientists and workers with Blue Green Water Technologies are in Utah, seeing how they can help.

“The advantage of having it float is that it will follow the floating scum that people see,” Doctor Jessica Frost said.

She said Bule Green Water Technologies developed an oxidizing solution that will eventually cause the blooms to die and sink to the bottom.

“When that oxidative stress is high, the algae cells don’t like it essentially, and they collapse,” she explained.

They’ll measure their success in part by seeing how much carbon falls to the lakebed below.

“Traditionally, to treat an algae bloom like this can be pretty expensive,” Mike Pelz said.

Pelz is Vice President over the U.S. office for Blue Green and he said the company is working toward an affordable solution.

“Algae blooms are getting worse, and governments are having a hard time coming up with money unless it gets absolutely catastrophic,” Pelz said.

If the proof of concept works here, he said they can market the idea to companies that want to sponsor similar projects nationwide.

“Companies that want to be a part of the cleaning water and help fund this and scale it out to the rest of the world,” he added.

Whether that idea works could all hinge on how things turn out here in the coming weeks and months.

Scientists from around the world will keep an eye on the outcome here, in part from water samples, but also with the help of satellite imaging that can tell them what chemical changes are happening.

Doctor Frost said the results could last weeks, months, or even years. It’s all a part of what they’ll be watching for.

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Pilot program used to clear algal blooms in Mantua