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Residents Have Aeration Options

December 7, 2011

Photo provided: Pictured is an Airy-Gator located in Grand Lake St. Marys. Airy-Gators work to increase aeration by increasing the level of dissolved oxygen in the water.

ST. MARYS — Area residents can do their part in helping with the cleanup of Grand Lake St. Marys by putting in their own aeration systems.

The recent Battelle Interim Report to the Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Commission recommended aeration technologies in select sheltered areas, according to a news release. Residents are able to assist with the aeration of the lake waters — 10 percent of the lake water is located in channels on Grand Lake St. Marys — by putting an aeration system in their channel.

"The most popular type is a linear aeration system," Grand Lake St. Marys State Park Manager Brian Miller said, noting a linear system usually has an air pump on the shoreline connected to two hoses, one on top and one on bottom.

"The top hose has small holes, and when it pumps, it releases oxygen out of it."

Aeration and circulation equipment work by essentially increasing the effective surface area of a water body to promote the exchange of gases, according to the news release.

Grand Lake St. Marys, Miller noted, is primarily made up of channels — closed channels and open channels.

"The bulk of the people around the lake live on closed channels," he said.

"With the main lake, as long as we get wind, we don't see the scum buildup. The channels don't get wind as easily, so it tends to build up there."

With closed channels, according to the release, any type of aeration is an improvement of the status quo of low bottom dissolved oxygen.

"This will help out the fish," Miller said. "In the closed channels, a lot of the time in June, July, August we'll get calls about fish kills — they die because of the lack of dissolved oxygen in the water."

There have been some in the area who have already installed aeration systems.

"It's going up all the time," Miller said. "There are some in Southmoor Shores, at Club Island, Behm's has one. The lake's not full, but a lot of areas are utilizing them."

He noted many residents have asked what they can do to help — this is something they can apply to their own area.

"People have been asking what they can do," Miller said. "This study showed what types of aeration that can be effective for our lake — not all types can be effective because we're not very deep."

He noted the cost of the system would be a homeowner's responsibility but suggested homeowners group together to purchase one.

"It's up to them for the cost, and they would need a simple permit so we know how many are out there," Miller said. "If there's a lot of people who live in your neighborhood, you could get with your neighbors or your neighborhood association to spread the cost throughout."

To get more information and a list of potential vendors to set up an aeration system in a channel, contact the park office at 419-394-3611.

"I encourage anyone to contact us because it's only going to be better for the lake," Miller said.

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