The Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board this week decided to move ahead with efforts to hopefully eliminate persistent algae blooms that have been plaguing the lake year round.
A lot of the blame has been laid at the feet of homeowners whose septic tanks have long outlived their functional life-span, and are now pumping human waste into the lake which feeds the algae.
Other arm chair scientists who live around the lake adamantly claim it has nothing to do with septic tanks but rather with how the lake’s water flow is too slow to keep it flushed of organic build up. And they have strongly urged the improvement district to remove the underwater dam at the mouth of the lake so that more water could flow out toward the sea.
This week’s district board meeting saw a new consensus on a way forward – to hire who was described as a world class lake scientist, Dr. Alex Horn of the University of California, Berkley, as well as an Oregon engineer to sign off on the project.
The project, of course, is lake aeration – using injected oxygen down into the lake bottom to cause dormant bacteria to consume all the organic muck that’s down there – not only on the bottom but a ways down below that.
This will, however, change plans on what the board thought it was getting itself in to. Board members were told that an expert lake hydrologist predicted that even if the dam at the south end of the lake were to be removed, it would not cause a big enough water outflow to the sea to change the lake’s basic chemistry, or flush sufficient lake sediments to head off future algae blooms. So the board decided to hold off on the removal of the dam for at least the time being.