Ridding East Fork's Harsha Lake of harmful algal blooms could be as easy as this machine
A steady stream of algae-free water is being returned to Harsha Lake at East Fork thanks to a huge machine that cleans it and turns the toxins into biofuel.
Harsha Lake, Buckeye Lake, Lake Erie and even the Ohio River have been plagued by harmful algal blooms over the years. There was an advisory at East Fork as recently as last summer. Technology from AECOM could be the solution.
The Hydronucleation Flotation Technology (HFT), as it’s called, will be at East Fork’s Campground beach until later this month. AECOM’s Dan Levy explains how it works: “It’s a simple process. We filter out intact algae cells, separate them from the water and return clean processed water back, and in doing so, we take that biomass and transform it into a usable energy product.”
The energy product is a biocrude oil that could be turned into sustainable jet fuel.
You can see this happening as explained by another AECOM employee in this video:
“Harmful algal blooms are becoming more toxic and lasting longer and creating more problems, so we need a full court press to solve the problem," Levy says.
This hydronucleation system is not cheap, so Director of Ohio's Department of Natural Resources Mary Mertz is going to first see if it's effective before the state buys any machines.
“When they finish the work here, I know they will collate the data and get it to us and we’ll be better informed and able to make better decisions about the future,” she says.
Levy says this system is one of the most cost effective ways to remove algae. He asks, “How valuable is water?”
Governor Mike DeWine checked out the cleaning system earlier this week.
Part of @H2Ohio's work to improve water quality includes looking for emerging technology to help reduce algal blooms. Today, Fran & I spent time at East Fork State Park learning about new tech that @ohiodnr & @AECOM are testing to harvest algae & associated nutrients from water. pic.twitter.com/G9IRx7KtvP— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) September 12, 2022
Buckeye Lake and Lake Erie are also trying out this technology.
This is just one of H2Ohio’s ideas. The program is also trying to convince farmers to help solve the algal problem. WVXU reported on one farmer near East Fork last year.