We recently received a comment from Joel Bleth, President of SolarBees, Inc that provided additional information related to recent events at Oso Reservoir. Since comments are not displayed as promently as posts we have created this post which contains Mr. Bleth’s comments provided on November 03, 2009 related to the post entitled “Algae Stink No Health Risk In Oso Reservoir“.
Hello, Devil Lake stakeholders.
As president of SolarBee, Inc. I have been meaning to send you a note from time time to time. This is the first one, and it will be a short one on Lake Oso problems.
Basically, in a nutshell, you should know that Lake Oso, mentioned above, is not a “lake” in the regular sense of the word. Since 2008, instead of being supplied with fresh water as it was for years, Lake Oso now serves as a large “wastewater reuse pond” for irrigation. It now receives and discharges about 5-8 mgd of treated wastewater per day, from 2 plants, typically at < 10 mg/l of Carbon BOD, < 10 mg/l of Nitrogen, < 1 mg/l of Phosphorus.
Depending on the season and lake elevation, this body of treated wastewater can range from over 100 surface acres and 65 ft deep, to 35 acres and 30 ft deep, or anywhere in-between.
For SolarBee, Inc. this is a new, fascinating and important project, because wastewater is virtually never stored in a large and deep reservoir such as Lake Oso. In these reservoirs there can be huge problems with low oxygen throughout most of the water column, the cost-prohibitive ongoing waste of grid energy if aeration alone is relied on to solve the problems, algae bloom issues due to high nutrients as with all wastewater ponds, and the production of sulfur-based odorous compounds at the sediment which can escape at turnover.
The use of Lake Oso to receive and discharge treated wastewater, unique today, may become commonplace in the future. In California, a US leader in water resuse, only about 15% of water is being reused, and that figure needs to rise dramatically if we hope to have enough water to go around in the future. And an important part of the solution will be the knowledge to deal with water quality problems in large deep wastewater reservoirs such as Lake Oso. That’s why SolarBee machines are in Lake Oso. We have had success in hundreds of “normal” shallower wastewater ponds, and have a good chance of solving the problems in Lake Oso. In 2009, despite the November odor event, there were far less water quality problems than in 2008. And in 2010, I think even more progress can be made.
In short, the takeaway point for your group is that if you ever decide that Devil’s Lake water quality needs improving, there is one company in the US that is fulltime tackling the toughest reservoir problems in the country.
Thanks for your interest and for reading this!
Joel Bleth, President, SolarBee, Inc.