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ODNR: Grand Lake St. Marys water quality improving

Grand Lake St Marys Water Quality (WKEF/WRGT)

GRAND LAKE ST. MARYS (WKEF/WRGT)- Signs warning people not to swim or come in contact with the water in Grand Lake St. Marys have been posted for the past couple of years.

"We do not take them down in the winter season," Brian Miller with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said. "Not that the levels are that high in the winter season but throughout the recreation season they are high so the signs are left up."

Miller said when the signs went up, tourism dropped.

"It definitely had a dramatic impact on tourism here at the lake," Miller said. "We are seeing those numbers slowly come back. The last two years we've had a pretty good increase in tourism."

Miller took FOX 45's Christian Hauser around the lake to show what's being done to improve the water quality.

There are two so-called "treatment trains" already in use.

Think of them as filters to get rid of sediment and chemicals like phosphorus that cause the dangerous algae blooms.

You can see the green water come in at the intake. It's mostly clear when it comes out the other side.

Testing shows the treatment train is removing more than 70 percent of the phosphorus in the water.

That's great news to Lake Improvement Association President Tim Lovett, but for others it's not good enough.

"We live in a world that's expedient.," Lovett said. "We get everything done fast. Fast food, those types of things. This is not one of those situations. It's been going on for a multitude of years."

A third treatment train is under construction with a fourth planned.

Lovett wants folks to know this isn't an overnight fix, it's going to take years to get it back under control.

"This has to be science based," Lovett said. "I know everyone have an opinion and everyone has emotions but at the end of the day we're not going to fix it with those, we're going to fix it with science."

The lake is also being dredged to help remove the sediment coming in from the streams and the phosphorus it contains.

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