Lake Erie, July 28, 2015. (NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens)

Efforts To Clean Lake Erie Get Funding Boost

The fight continues to reduce and prevent phosphorus from entering local waterways, further tackling the issue of algal blooms in Lake Erie. However, recent funding will help the process move along.

Charlie Lalonde with the Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative (PRC) says the group is looking at ways to intercept phosphorus from municipal drains an agricultural land.

“It’s an effort that complements what other groups are doing,” he says.

“We brought this group together approximately two years ago. We spent the first year and a half examining how we could intervene in the drainage systems in Ontario and then examining whether there were realistic possibilities to do projects that would help clean water for the Lake Erie basin.”

Lalonde says now, they’re in the process of making “things happen.”

According to a media release, work is expected to start in the fall and continue for the next few years, where phosphorus removal technologies will be placed at the edge of fields and municipal drains.

“In the field, we’re looking at the different set-ups so we can reduce the amounts of phosphorus from entering the system,” he says. “Together we will be creating a final barrier to help protect our waters.”

Lalonde adds that once phosphorus enters the municipal drains a different strategy will need to be developed and implemented.

“The objective is to do some installations, monitor what is happening, [and] what kinds of improvements are possible so that we have valid information on how to deal in the long-term,” says Lalonde.

The PRC recently received $600,000 from the federal Great Lakes Protection Initiative to go ahead with the project.

With the money received, Lalonde says they’re hoping to get work started at five or six site-specific sites.