Recreational Exposure to Freshwater Cyanobacteria

The School of Population Health, The University of Queensland undertook a study of the Recreational Exposure to Freshwater Cyanobacteria. The aim of this project was to enhance the understanding of public health issues relating to recreational exposure to cyanobacteria by conducting epidemiological and laboratory-based toxicology studies.  The study produced 418 pages of detailed information.

A prospective cohort study of 1,331 recreational water users was conducted at various sites in southern Queensland, the Myall Lakes area of New South Wales, and central Florida. The study design sought to make improvements over previously published epidemiological studies, in that an unexposed group was recruited from cyanobacteria-free waters, cyanobacterial toxins were measured in site water samples, and respondents were asked to rate the severity of reported symptoms. This study has shown an increased likelihood of symptom reporting amongst bathers exposed to high cyanobacterial cell density (measured by total cell surface area) compared to those exposed to low cyanobacteria-affected waters. Mild respiratory symptoms appear to be the predominant symptom category.

This is a very comprehensive study you can review the entire document at http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/eserv/UQ:9880/is_thesis_mar06.pdf

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Attend the December DLWID Board Meeting

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board meeting will be held in its offices above Radio Shack Thursday December 3rd at 6:00pm. The best way stay informed is for all lake front homeowners and interested parties to attend these important meetings.

There are several interesting items on the agenda including a summary of Metro’s recently released report related to the performance of SolarBees on Blue Lake.   Several excepts from this report are in the Managers Report.  Reports will be given on the progress made on the Septic Tank Revitalization Program and Save or Shoreline Campaign.  The district is compiling an Request for Proposal for the development of a lake nutrient budget which will be reviewed by the board during the meeting.

Follow this link to download the Meeting Agenda and Manager’s Report.  Highlights for the balance of the meeting  include;

  • Boat House/Docks
  • Land-use Complaints
  • Lake Level
  • The Devils Lake Plan
  • DEQ 319 Grant
  • Native Vegetation
  • Whole Lake Circulation
  • Septic Tank Revitalization Program
  • Save our Shoreline Campaign
  • Financial Oversight Committee Report
  • Communications Committee Report
  • Safety Report
  • Nutrient Budget RFP
  • Listserve
  • Devils Lake Low Power Radio
  • SDAO Best Practices and Self Assessment
  • SDAO Board Training Workshop
  • Board Applicant Interviews
  • PADL’s Next Steps
  • Hydroplane Racing Letter to OMB
  • Webspace
  • Technology Needs

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Legislation Introduced to Combat Harmful Algal Blooms

Senator Russ Feingold cosponsored legislation to investigate ways to curb harmful blue-green algal blooms. The legislation, entitled the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2009 (S. 952), was introduced by Senator Olympia Snowe and would provide competitive grants to groups to research the problem and come up with solutions.  Read the full text of the bill.

On the House side Representative Brian Baird introduced October 7, 2009 the H.R.3650 which has provision impacting the studies in to be performed in the Pacific Northwest.  Read the full text of the bill.

Bill Summary S.952

Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2009 – Amends the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998 to require the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to establish criteria for determining which states should serve on the Inter-Agency Task Force on Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia and to implement a nominations process to select representatives for such Task Force. Continue reading

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EPA, Florida Agree to Limit Fertilizer, Animal Waste in State Waters

TALLAHASSEE, Florida, November 17, 2009 (ENS) – In a decision with national relevance, a federal judge in Tallahassee Monday approved a consent decree that requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set legal limits on excess nutrients that trigger harmful algae blooms in Florida waters.

The EPA agreed to establish numeric water quality criteria for Florida’ lakes and flowing waters by January 14, 2010. The agency has until January 14, 2011, to establish numeric water quality criteria for Florida’s coastal and estuarine waters. The consent decree allows the state to set numeric criteria before these dates as long as they are approved by the EPA.

This green slime on Christopher Point Creek, a St. Johns River tributary, is an algae bloom fueled by excess nutrients. (Photo by Chris Williams courtesy GreenWater Laboratories/CyanoLab)

The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit brought by five environmental groups seeking to compel the federal government to set water quality standards for nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus in public waters.

In July 2008, the public interest law firm Earthjustice filed suit on behalf of the Florida Wildlife Federation, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, St. John’s Riverkeeper, and the Sierra Club.

The suit challenged an unacceptable decade-long delay by the state and federal governments in setting limits for nutrient pollution.

Speaking from the bench Monday after hearing oral arguments in the case, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said the delay was a matter of serious concern.

In August, the U.S. EPA signed a consent decree, agreeing to set legal limits for nutrients in Florida waters.

But Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services filed a motion to intervene in the case on the polluters’ side.

In his approval of the consent decree, Judge Hinkle rejected the arguments made by polluters who sought to delay cleanup and get out of complying with the Clean Water Act. Continue reading

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AQMD Issues Violation To Local Water District

The Mission Viejo Dispatch recently referenced the comments of Joel Bleth, President of Solarbees,  posted on the No Solarbee website on November 9, related to the water problems on Oso Reservoir.   The entire article is posted as follows.

by MissionViejoDispatch.com on November 19, 2009

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to the Santa Margarita Water District on November 11 for causing a public nuisance as a result of the numerous complaints received due to odors from Oso Reservoir.

In a 6-page report dated yesterday, the AQMD reviewed its findings regarding the odor and the remediation efforts taken by the Water District.  Many residents contacted the AQMD.  Complaints included the odor and related coughs, throat irritation, asthma episodes and other symptoms during the period from October 28. Although recognizing the presence of sulphur compounds, including hydrogen sulfides, the report categorized health effects as “temporary:” 

Based on ambient air sampling and analysis done in the residential and commercial areas, AQMD believes that although the type and concentration of odorous compounds released from the Reservoir have caused the residents around the Reservoir some discomfort, irritation, nuisance and other temporary symptoms, the health effects should be of a transient or temporary nature and are not considered alarming or a long-term health concern.

Last week the general manager of the Santa Margarita District, John Schatz, told the Dispatch there was concern that new equipment installed in March 2008 may have contributed to problem.  Four “Solarbees” were placed in the water then for aeration, and the District wants to investigate whether they contributed to a water quality problem at the bottom of the reservoir.  A letter from the President of Solarbees, Joel Bleth, posted the Company’s view of the Oso situation on the No Solarbee website on November 9: Continue reading

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Blue Water Satellite Measures Water Quality From Space

It is now possible to detect a variety of pollutants in drinking and recreational bodies of water from satellite at a fraction of the cost of land based measurements.  The advantage of this technology is the ability to observe the distribution of pollutants such as E. Coli, cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, phosphorus run-off throughout bodies of water as small as Devils Lake.  The Sentinel-Tribune Newspaper reported on a Bowling Green company that has pioneered this state-of-the-art service (see article below).  For an example Reservoir Report from Blue Water Satellite, Inc. – click here

Raw Satellite Image - Lake Erie

Cyanobacteria Scan - Lake Erie

Published : Thursday, 12 Nov 2009, 9:28 PM ES
By JENISE FOUTS Sentinel Staff Writer

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – A Bowling Green business, still in its infancy, has melded state-of-the-art technology from Bowling Green State University with an Ignite grant from the Regional Growth Partnership’s Rocket Venture program to become a successful global enterprise in only nine months.

Blue Water Satellite Inc. uses two U.S. government Landsat satellites, plus patented and patent-pending algorithms, to detect a variety of pollutants in drinking and recreational bodies of water in Ohio, across the U.S. and around the world. The science is done at a fraction of the cost, and is more accurate, than samplings taken by someone in a boat. Continue reading

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SolarBees Inc Comment on Oso Reservoir

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“.

Joel Bleth Says:

November 9, 2009 at 2:41 pm e

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.

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