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"Treatment Train" Unveiled Today to Help Grand Lake St. Marys
MERCER COUNTY -- The Prairie Creek treatment train was dedicated Tuesday to fanfare from state and local officials during a ceremony in Celina.
This "constructed wetland" is one of many approaches being used to help improve the water quality at Grand Lake St. Marys.
The last several years, Grand Lake St. Marys has lost many tourists to a blue-green algae that took over the lake. On Tuesday, environmental officials showed off their new way to fix the problem.
It's called the 'treatment train' and it's a way to filter water in a wetland before entering the lake.
Here's a basic idea of how it works: Water is pumped out of a creak near the lake and is then filtered by passing through wetlands. That clean water then flows into the lake.
"It's designated to help filter the water, it helps Mother Nature do what she was already doing. It's where she already had wetlands in place," said Director of Ohio's EPA, Scott Nally.
The treatment train already has information that readings are down for phosphorous, which allows algae to grow.
Here's a copy of the release:
CELINA, OH State and local leaders marked an important step forward in improving the watershed and health of Grand Lake St. Marys with the dedication of the Prairie Creek treatment train today. The constructed wetland was a cooperative project that included the efforts of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA), Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), and The Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Commission.
This treatment train addresses one of our main objectives of targeting nutrient loading into the lake, said ODNR Director Jim Zehringer. This project continues to build upon our commitment to improve the valuable resource that is Grand Lake St. Marys.
This partnership has produced a number of ongoing water quality initiatives at Grand Lake St. Marys that include increased dredging, rough fish removal and improved aeration efforts in and around the lake. Each of these efforts plays a role in the multi-faceted, multi-year plan aimed at improving the water quality in the Grand Lake St. Marys watershed.
This is just another example of how we are leveraging our resources and the partnerships we have developed to make a sustainable difference at Grand Lake St. Marys, Ohio EPA Director Scott Nally said. We have made significant progress but we need to be diligent as we continue our work to improve the lake.
The treatment train combines wetlands and water dosing to filter runoff from the watershed before it enters Grand Lake St. Marys. Water is lifted from Prairie Creek before it enters Grand Lake. The water is treated with Alum then released into former farm lands that have been repurposed as wetlands. The water settles in the wetland where it is naturally filtered prior to entering the open water of the lake.
Weekly testing indicates the treatment train is removing up to 89 percent of the phosphorus and up to 57 percent of the nitrogen that would have fed into the lake. Reducing nutrient loading is an important step toward reducing harmful algal blooms at Grand Lake St. Marys.
The testing proves this is money well-spent, said ODA Director David Daniels. So many people and groups, including local farmers, have stepped forward to help Grand Lake and this project validates their efforts.
Our state partners continue to show their commitment to improve the water quality at Grand Lake St. Marys, said Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Commission manager Milt Miller. We share the same goals, and I'm confident our hard work will produce a cleaner, healthier lake.
Local, federal and state funds were utilized in the construction of this $1.9 million wetland. Funding was also secured in the biennial budget bill (Sub. H.B.59) that will provide $2.1 million for an additional treatment train to be built in the watershed of Grand Lake St. Marys.
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