Technology installed to clear out toxic algae in lake

News

MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) — People who live around Lake Paradise are relieved to find out the city is taking action to clear out toxic blue-green algae.

It’s known to be deadly to dogs if ingested. Solar powered equipment was recently installed in the lake to get rid of it. The treatment process will take at least three weeks. This is an experiment to see if the machines prove to be effective.

While no dogs have been reported to have died at the lake, owners have been cautious. Deborah Newberry says, “I wouldn’t even let my dog loose now.”

She recalls when the blue-green algae got so thick last year, her boat could barely make it through the water. It reappeared for a second time this year so the city rented three machines that work to kill the algae.

Mattoon’s engineering technician Ethan Ervin says, “The part that’s doing all the work that you don’t see is the transmitter that sits about two feet under the water than emits the ultrasonic waves. That’s what’s breaking down the algae.” That disrupts the gas in the blue-green algae and causes it to sink to bottom where it can’t grow and eventually dies.

Ervin says, “We hope this keeps the algae blooms down so it looks nice and we also hope it works because it’s a lot safer and easier treatment of the algae than resorting to chemicals.”

The city is giving the machines a 90-day trial run to see if the technology will be effective. Ervin says, “We have talked to a couple people we know in the field who have used them successfully and they recommended them. We did some lab sampling before and we’ll do it after to see how it works.”

The city spent about $22,700 to rent the equipment. If it works, they plan to invest in buying the units to use in the future.

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