LIMA — Grand Lake Restoration Commission manager Milt Miller had interesting pictures to show about 40 attendees Tuesday at the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society program meeting held at the OSU-Lima Visitors Center.
He showed several pictures of clean water trickling down a creek, slowly working its way into a larger body of water. You could see straight through to the bottom, with healthy vegetation in full bloom.
The pictures were not of a fresh Colorado mountain spring or a hidden rain forest on another continent. The pictures were of Prairie Creek emptying into Grand Lake.
While the project represents a very small portion of water going into the lake, it is a striking difference when compared to other areas around the lake. The lake has been plagued with blue-green algae bloom problems since 2008. The $1.9 million Prairie Creek Treatment Train has been open now for two years and initial results are showing that the project is a success.
A total of 1.3 million gallons of water per day are pulled from the lake and ran through a natural filtration system through an established wetlands near the Aquaview subdivision. Over two years, test have shown that the system is helping reduce nutrients going into the lake, including a 77 percent reduction in phosphorus, a 36 percent reduction in dissolved reactive phosphorus, and a 41 percent reduction in nitrogen.
Miller said many scientists are taking notice, and several universities have placed observation and recording stations at the site in Mercer County to monitor the progress. In layman’s terms, the water is sent through a natural filtering system of deep pool water and vegetation to capture the nutrients before it gets to the lake.
“We have reached out to the best technology that we were able to get a hold of,” Miller said.
The project has been so successful that Miller said two other projects are in various stages of preparation on Coldwater and Beaver creeks. He added that the shut down of the water supply recently in Toledo due to problems on Lake Erie have put more focus on the issue.
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or at Twitter@LanceMihm