AN UPDATE ON OPC’S UFB DEMONSTRATIO PROJECT IN SARAH’S POND
|On December 7, the Orleans Pond Coalition formally teamed up with SOLitude Lake Management on a demonstration project of ultra-fine bubble (UFB) oxygenation in Sarah’s Pond, to begin next May in Orleans, MA. This will be a significant debut for UFB in New England where the accepted pond and lake remediation practices haven’t changed in decades.|
Most freshwater bodies on Cape Cod are impaired, with treatment options limited by high costs and heavy regulatory requirements. Since private ponds and lakes can’t qualify for public funding, those communities have difficulty finding cures that are both affordable and effective. OPC is optimistic that this aeration technology will provide significant benefits at much lower cost than other strategies used on the Cape. It could be a real game changer!
The UFB concept caught OPC’s attention because it appears to be a far more effective way to increase oxygen levels necessary to improve the health of freshwater ponds. If the demo is successful, Orleans Pond Coalition will have found earth-friendly, sustainable technology too promising to ignore!
Rather than wait for others to embrace this innovation, OPC has taken the lead to become the first to use UFB oxygenation in New England. The system involves no chemicals other than oxygen, deployed in bubbles invisible to the naked eye and capable of remaining in solution for very long periods of time, even weeks. This is a clear advantage over other conventional aeration systems whose bubbles quickly rise and escape. Dissolved oxygen helps a pond’s own biological defenses protect against toxic algae blooms and other impacts of pollution.
Will it work? Sarah’s Pond is a 5.8-acre pond with two basins. By using the UFB oxygenation system in the east basin and keeping the west basin as a control, we hope to measure differences in water quality, such as improved oxygen levels, water clarity, suppression of algal blooms and improvement of the pond’s natural biome. UFB oxygenation may even inhibit phosphorus release from sediments that can cause harmful algal blooms
What’s the cost? At present, OPC is projecting the 5.8-acre project at Sarah’s Pond to cost just over $30 thousand for the equipment, installation and a 2-year maintenance contract. In addition, OPC spent about $5,000 in consultant fees to design the system and to go through the MA DEP permitting process. Operating costs for electricity to be around $31 per month. While affordability is a relative term, this budget should be encouraging to towns and waterside communities who are looking for ways to improve lake and pond water quality.
Who is OPC? For the past 15 years, Orleans Pond Coalition, Inc. has been a trusted environmental watchdog dedicated to protecting and enhancing the saltwater estuaries and freshwater ponds and lakes of Orleans. An all-volunteer organization, OPC provides educational information on mindful land use practices, sponsors water quality research, and works with community, regional and state organizations to develop constructive policies to protect our natural resources. More information at orleanspondcoalition.org.
Who is SLM? SOLitude Lake Management is the largest freshwater management firm in the United States and is at the forefront of UFB technology, devoting extensive resources to further UFB research. SOLitude has completed several successful trials in other parts of the country and maintains well-established partnerships with leading UFB suppliers and manufacturers.
The equipment: that will be used in the demonstration project is the MaxDo Aeration Platform LB2000 manufactured by Homeport, capable of producing up to 19 kg of oxygen per day and processing 9,000 gallons of water per our with a single phase 208 230V 3 HP pump. This more than satisfies the oxygen target levels set for the demonstration area. The LB2000 has a modest foot of 37”x37”x31”.
The timeline: The project is scheduled to begin in early May, 2019 and will continue through October. One season of data will not be sufficient to determine success or failure, but will provide enough information to determine next steps in the process. REMEMBER OPC WITH A HOLIDAY GIFT.
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