It would appear that Lincoln City is, indeed, on the verge of finding a way to eliminate, or hugely reduce, the ugly blue-green algae blooms on the surface of Devil’s Lake – especially during the Summer.
The lake’s annual “green up” is a hazard to humans and potentially fatal for dogs.
Discussions about how to get rid of the menace have raged for years – with more than a few self-appointed neighborhood experts pointing the way – none of which were grounded in any scientifically defendable theory.
So the Devil’s Lake Water Improvement Board brought in a scholarly expert to recommend some strategies to bring Devil’s Lake back to health – Dr. Alex Horne. Dr. Horne told the water board that there are roughly 17 prescriptions for returning lakes to an ecological balance. He said in the case of Devil’s Lake, a particular kind of aeration system has the greatest likelihood of transforming Devil’s Lake from putrid-looking green to sky blue – or something close.
Dr. Horne said there are many elements contributing to the lake’s ill-health – not the least of which is the high rate that nutrients flow in to the lake – not the least of which are the residues from old and failing residential septic tanks that surround the lake. Dr. Horne said the recent financial commitment by Lincoln City to help a number of homeowners to switch from septic tanks to city sewer service is certainly a step in the right direction. But in the meantime a comprehensive water aeration system – which blows air into the lake at the elevation of 12 inches off the lake-bottom,at many spots around the lake, is the most promising option. Dr. Horne said it’s proved effective in similar applications around the world.
One option raised by a board member was dredging the lake. But when an estimated cost of well over $20 million dollars was mentioned, the room got real quiet. Sudenly everyone was back on track to explore the oxygen aeration solution. Also raised was the issue of noise from the air pumps that feed oxygen to the lake bottom aeration emitters. Dr. Horne and a systems consulting firm said noise should not be a problem when pump houses are properly baffled and sufficiently insulated.
At the end of the agenda item the water improvement board decided they needed one more discussion session before giving their approval to move forward with the design of the system. The board’s next meeting on the topic is set for Thursday, February 11th at 6pm, in the Lincoln City City Council Chambers, 3rd floor of City Hall.