Dear residents of lake country I must thank you for greeting me and the services of Edmonton lake property to your community. Every day I’m amazed and taken back by both the beauty and lifestyle we experience in our area I like to call lake country.
The only unfortunate experience I’ve had is with the blue green algae and the apparent lack of desire to change it. My friends we can solve this, I’m going to start looking for solutions and begin a fund to clean up our lakes. This is a sin against our humanity to watch it grow into a bigger unsolvable problem.
Well I’m not going to take it any longer, when my season ends November 2, I going to donate a month or so to research, I’m inviting you my friends and neighbors to get proactive in this fight. I’m republishing an article that I found to be encouraging.
Getting rid of blue-green algae
Athabaca Advocate – Town & Country
By Christopher Cain
Baptiste Lake resident looks to have SolarBee units installed in five separate areas
As Dennis Irving looks over Baptiste Lake from the boat launch at the Summer Village of Whispering Hills, he envisions the lake again being clean and pristine as it was many years ago.
Irving, the mayor of the Summer Village of Whispering Hills, oversaw the removal of a SolarBee from his region of Baptiste Lake last Tuesday.
The $70,000 machine, installed in the spring was highly effective in eliminating blue-green algae, a problem most if not all lakes in the area face each summer.
Irving hopes that all of the summer villages that surround the lake as well as the County of Athabasca will get on board next spring to have five SolarBee units installed.
“We’re looking for the County of Athabasca to participate with the ratepayers that are on the lake – the Summer Village of South Baptiste Lake and the Summer Village of Sunset Beach,” said Irving. “If all those municipalities participate, then we’ll have enough funding to put five units on the lake and they should do a real good job.”
This past summer, blue-green algae was in high quantity on Baptiste Lake, particularly in August. While the SolarBee substantially mitigates the problem, Irving said it will not totally eliminate blue-green algae. However, with five of the units installed, the process of cleaning up the lake, he said, would begin in earnest.
“We believe the will help. It’s not going to completely solve it, but it’ll certainly make a big difference so that people will be able to enjoy the lake a lot more.”
How it works
Mike Boersma and Lanoie Weiland, installation and service employees with SolarBee, Inc., both from North Dakota were the company is based, pulled the unit out of the water.
Boersma explained how the solar-powered apparatus works.
“What the SolarBee does is circulate the water throughout the lake or throughout the area that it is in,” he said. “Through the circulation, it affects the blue-green algae and inhibits its ability to grow.”
The SolarBee circulates the water above the thermal line and treats about 10,000 gallons of water a minute. The unit pulls water from the bottom of the lake and pushes it out, disturbing blue-green algae growth. This provides more nutrients for fish and cleaner water for swimmers.
Boersma said SolarBee, Inc. has machines all acress Canada, from Quebec to British Columbia, including 20 in Alberta. Altogether, he added, the company has well over 100 units installed in lakes across Canada and the U.S.
“When the machine is applied right, we have excellent success in controlling blue-green algae and macrophytes, which are weeds like milfoil, grasses, or invasive plants that grow along the edge of a lake,” Boersma said.
The Summer Village of Whispering Hill bought the SolarBee unit two years ago. It costs the village $5000 to $6000 a year to maintain the unit; included in this cost are a variety of water quality tests.
Irving helped form the Baptiste Lake Water Quality Organization (BLWQO) and met with the Athabsca County councillors last July, where they made a Power Point presentation of the SolarBee. The BLWQO showed council how it works, and what the kind of support they are looking for.
“I think there was a misunderstanding,” said Irving. “I think some of the councillors thought we were there just looking for a handout. We’re not looking for a handout at all. We’re looking for them to put together some sort of program where the ratepayers around the lake have an opportunity to pay for the machines.”
Between Athabsca county and the four summer villages, there are 749 taxable properties. Five SolarBees would cost $350,000; divided by 749, ratepayers would be asked to pony up $467 apiece.
As noted, residents of the Summer Village of Whispering Hills have already plunked down the dough.
“It works and we know it works, because we’ve had it in the lake for two years,” said Irving. “We’ve seen the results and we know that it’s proven technology, so it’s like a no-brainer.”
The question: will the other ratepayers on Baptiste Lake be willing to spend $467 for a much cleaner body of water? That’s what the BLWQO hopes to find out next spring.
“We intend to put on a public forum for all people around the lake and anybody that’s interested, to come and hear the details of the SolarBee, have look at it and see how it works,” Irving said.
The BLWQO, he added, plans to hold their forum on the Saturday after the May long weekend.