PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER: (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT:  Chris Abbruzzese, Ohio EPA (614) 644-2782 
                              Bethany McCorkle, ODNR (614) 265-6873

2012 Grand Lake St. Marys Alum Treatment Report Released

A federal report from U.S. EPA indicates the 2012 alum treatment reduced the internal phosphorus load in Grand Lake St. Marys by 55 percent.

“To no one’s surprise, the report revealed that a significant amount of phosphorus was inactivated as a result of the alum treatment, and we are satisfied with the results, but this was always one part of a multi-faceted, multi-year plan for the lake and for the watershed,” Ohio EPA Director Scott Nally said. “The alum treatment was a significant investment that had to be made to provide the time necessary to make sure we could implement the other comprehensive, long-term practices and plans we needed to have in place to be successful.”

Since 2011, the state has worked with the Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Commission and the Lake Improvement Association to implement several new practices as part of a comprehensive, long-term plan to reduce the bioavailability of phosphorus in addition to the alum treatments. These practices include: dredging, rough fish removal, the installation of a phosphorus treatment train in a Grand Lake St. Marys tributary, lake leveling, aerators and the installation of littoral wetlands - all tools designed to reduce the effects of phosphorus in and around the lake. In addition, from a policy perspective, the state took significant steps to declare the Grand Lake Watershed a “watershed in distress,” completed a state nutrient management plan and implemented land management practices to also help manage the phosphorus issue in and around the lake.

The state will not apply a third alum treatment to Grand Lake St. Marys in 2013.

“We have accomplished a lot of work in the lake and in the watershed in the last two years, and we remain dedicated to the health and success of Grand Lake St. Marys,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “This problem wasn’t created overnight, and it won’t be fixed overnight either. The alum treatment was a single element in our overall plan to combat algae in GLSM, and we will continue to work within the watershed to improve the lake’s water quality.”

Through dredging in 2012, approximately 289,861 cubic yards of sediment was removed from Grand Lake St. Marys, which is more than was removed the past three years. ODNR’s Ohio State Parks and Division of Wildlife also removed more than seven tons of rough fish from Grand Lake St. Marys last year. An additional six tons were removed during a carp derby planned by the Lake Restoration Commission. Rough fish stir up sediment and contribute to phosphorus-related problems.

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The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. In the past 40 years, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling. Ohio EPA….40 years and moving forward.

 


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