Category Archives: Solarbees

Study, decision, and action taken by DLWID related to Solarbees

SolarBees have mixed effect on water quality at Blue Lake

By Matthew Preusch, The Oregonian

May 14, 2010, 7:33PM

Water clarity has improved at Blue Lake three years after Metro spent tens of thousands of dollars on algae-combating machines, but the devices may be abetting the spread of troublesome weeds.

“What we’ve found is that the pH has been a little bit worse, the water clarity has been a little bit better, and the toxic-algae problem has been about the same,” said Metro biologist Elaine Stewart.

The regional government and the solar-powered devices’ manufacturer say, however, that it’s still too early to render a verdict on whether the money was well spent.


Matthew Preusch/The OregonianIn 2007, Metro and homeowners on Blue Lake invested in three SolarBee water mixers to try to combat blooms of blue-green algae at the lake east of Portland. The solar-powered machines churn the lake water to limit algae growth.

Metro manages the popular 130-acre park on the lake’s north shore and cooperates with homeowners on the south shore over lake regulations. It split the $150,000 cost for the three SolarBee water circulation devices with the homeowners Continue reading

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Filed under Algae Bloom, Invasives, Performance, Scientific Study, Solarbees, Solarbees, Water Quality

Criticism of DLWID

From Opinion Column
News Guard
July 15, 2009

I read with interest your articles regarding the Devils Lake Water Improvement District.

Communication is the chief problem with the organization! No newsletter! They do have a Website but many of the district’s taxpayers do not own computers.

The Board of Directors holds its meetings on Thursday evenings. Why? Over 50 percent of DLWID members are weekenders. Why not hold the meetings on Saturday mornings?

A mailing list can be obtained from the County for very few dollars.

To spend that much money on SolarBees is not smart. Spend the money to sewer the east side of the lake. That would clean up the lake more than the SolarBees.

Jim Overgaard


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Filed under DLWID, Solarbees, Uncategorized

Support for DLWID

From Opinion Column
News Guard
July 15, 2009

After reading the July 8 story about the cyanobacteria scare at Devil’s Lake, I really had a good laugh. At first I thought I was reading the script from Jaws, where the Mayor is complaining to the Chief of Police that he can’t shut the beaches at Amity, it will hurt tourism! (After all only a few people were killed by the shark.)

Well here you have a few people who live around the lake, and no doubt have been contributing to the algae bloom due to their septic systems, complaining about the manager warning everyone of the danger.

The DLWID Manager Paul Robertson made sure that everyone knew that the Lake was having problems. Good Job Mr. Robertson – you did the right thing for the right reasons!

For those who criticize Robertson, keep in mind that the DWLID has a legal responsibility to notify the public when serious health issues show up in the Lake water. It is called “vicarious liability.” (If you don’t know what it means, look it up!)

If any child, adult, or even pet were seriously injured or died due to contact with that water, and the district had kept it to itself – what do you think would happen? The next article would be describing the lawsuit in Federal Court.

So before you complain about somebody doing their job – think first! Robertson deserves a pat on the back, not a kick in the pants!

David R DeSau


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Filed under DLWID, Solarbees

Lake warning draws fire from residents

The News Guard
July 8, 2009


An alert about potentially toxic cyanobacteria on Devils Lake in the run up to the Fourth of July prompted criticism from some lakefront property owners at the’ July 2 Devils Lake Water Improvement District meeting.

Lake Manager Paul Robertson posted yellow alert signs July 1 after noticing an increase in green slime on the lake surface particularly at Regatta Grounds and East Devils Lake State Park.

Similar cyanobacteria blooms last summer and fall produced levels of liver toxin that exceeded state and World Health Organization limits for recreational water use.

Robertson said the yellow alert signs, which warn lake users to stay clear of scummy water, were posted as a precaution in accordance with the district’s cyano-watch program.

Robertson also gave radio interviews in which he warned that water skiers could be at heightened risk of exposure to any toxins produced by the bloom if they breath in vapor when skiing through scummy water.

Lake resident Bud Depweg said Robertson is scaring people away from the lake, “I think that’s wrong,” he said, both businesswise, which doesn’t mean anything, but because so far, in my 34 years [as a lakefront property owner,] I have yet to see anyone get sick because of skiing through this green slime that’s all over the lake.”

Lake resident Larry Brown said Robertson should not be allowed to speak on behalf of the district’s board of directors without authorization.

 Board Vice-chair Jack Strayer said Robertson has discretion to speak to the media when he feels it is appropriate.

 Robertson said informing the public about potential risks is a key part of the cyano-watch program.

 “What’s the point in developing a program if you’re not going to tell people about it?” he said.

 The district is scheduled to run toxicity tests on the bloom Thursday, July 9.

Brown also called for the district to change its water sampling methods, saying samples should be taken at set times and at set locations in the middle of the lake, with the collection and analysis done by outside companies.

Speaking before the meeting, Robertson defended the district’s current policy of “incident-based” sampling, which involves testing water quality whenever a bloom occurs.

He said cyanobacteria scum tends to accumulate around the edges of the lake, where children and dogs, who would be more vulnerable to any toxins, are most likely to be at play.

“You really put yourself at risk of  underestimating what the levels might be if you only rely on the mid-lake stuff,” he said.

After the meeting, Robertson said the district is working on the logistics of taking mid-lake samples in addition to shoreline samples.

Determining the severity of the lake’s  cyanobacteria problem will help decide whether the district will pursue a whole lake circulation project, such as the installation of 20 SolarBee water agitators on the lake surface, in an attempt to deny the bacteria the calm water they need to bloom.

A recent surge of opposition to the SolarBee idea convinced the board to shelve any further action until questions about the cyanobacteria risk and whether the modules have any history of causing boating accidents.

Lake resident Mitchell Moore urged the board to go a step further and  pronounce the SolarBee concept dead and take advantage of the public’s newfound interest in the district to move forward on other projects that have widespread support.

Brown said the board and Robinson should focus on arranging events such as water skiing displays, fishing derbies and kayak races to build camaraderie among lakefront property owners.

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Filed under Algae Bloom, DLWID, Solarbees, Water Quality

DLWID To Homeowners – We’re Not Done Yet!

If you attended the June 4th Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board Meeting you may have thought that we were done with SolarBees® on Devils Lake.  The actual decision read;

 “defer further actions toward pursuing SolarBees until we have more information regarding the nature, extent and effects of cyanobacteria and learn more about the safety experience with SolarBees on other recreational lakes.”

The above language does not represent a final decision by the DLWID Board but rather it appears to be just a deferral of the ultimate decision.  This position is clearly stated by DLWID Board President, Brian Green in the most recent article “Lake Abuzz Over Bees” that ran in the News Guard June 17, 2009. 

According to that article Green said “the recent surge in interest in the SolarBee proposal has convinced the board that it should hold a specially advertised public meeting prior to any decision to go ahead with the project.”

The article continues, Green said “everyone should keep an open mind about all the concerns that have been raised and allow firm data to drive the conversation. A lot of this has the feel of people having a pre-ordained conclusion that they don’t want SolarBees on the lake and coming up with arguments against them,” he said, adding: “I would urge everyone to draw back, take a deep breath and let’s just do some more investigation.”

While the District is moving ahead on some very positive steps such as, improved communication, and native re-vegetation there still seems to be a prevailing line of thinking that lake users can still be convinced that SolarBees® are the right solution for Devils Lake.

 I would encourage each of you to check for updates and to keep current on the issues.  Encourage your neighbors to do the same.

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Lake Abuzz Over Bees

DLWID takes concerns over solar devices under review
The News Guard
June 17, 2009

A plea from lakefront property owners has led the Devils Lake Water Improvement District to re-examine the case for installing solar-powered water agitators aimed at tackling toxic cyanobacteria blooms.

A recent campaign spearheaded by lake resident Mitchell Moore has questioned whether the lake’s cyanobacteria problem is serious enough to warrant the district spending more than $1 million in savings, grants and loans on 20 SolarBee modules. Continue reading

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Safety on Devils Lake: Reflections of a Healthcare Professional

Cyanobacteria and other phytoplankton blooms have apparently increased as predicted since introduction of grass carp into Devils Lake. But it is not clear is that these blooms pose serious health risks to lake users.  American mythology is full of stories about illness and death from “bad water.” Medical literature repeats warnings about exposure to cyanobacteria toxin.  However, in current literature there is a paucity of reports of human illness caused by exposure to these toxins in aquatic recreational venues. This is not because most recreational lakes are free of blue-green algae.  More than 15 Oregon aquatic venues, including heavily used Detroit Lake and Clackamas River, posted cyanobacteria advisories in the last couple of years.
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Filed under Cyano Information, DLWID, Solarbees, Water Quality