Spring Lake cleanup options presented

Spring Lake cleanup options presented
Spring Lake looks almost normal from the surface, but the acidic water won’t yet support fish or other living organisms. - Kristin Swain | Sun

HOLMES BEACH – The situation at Spring Lake isn’t likely to resolve itself and commissioners want to explore all of their options before deciding how to proceed with a cleanup.

During an April 9 meeting, City Engineer Lynn Burnett and fellow LTA Engineers representative Eron Wasserman gave commissioners an update on the effort to clean up the pollution in Spring Lake.

Burnett said that the algae on the bottom of the lake has eaten away the solid waste pollution on the bottom of the lake, leaving approximately three feet of sediment and sludge. To remove one foot of the sludge by dredging, Burnett said it would cost the city about $245,000 for the dredging and an additional estimated $196,000 to haul the dredged material to a landfill. Part of the issue, she said, is that there’s limited access to the lake and limited area to lay out and dry the dredge material before it can be taken to a landfill.

Another option is to find a type of sealife that can survive in the acidic, brackish water and use it to clean the water. Burnett said she’s still attempting to find out what kind of organism would be best suited to the task.

Wasserman said that one thing that would help the lake water almost immediately would be to install an aeration system. The system would mix the water and add oxygen to it, reducing the amount of acid in the water. Burnett said that the constant movement would create a more uniform water column in the lake. She anticipates that an aeration system would cost $8,800 to install, including the first year’s maintenance, with an additional $744 in annual costs.

Wasserman said that if commissioners approve the aeration system, what’s planned is to place a compressor on an existing cement pad on Palm Drive and use the storm water system to run pipes underground to the lake. A second system would be located on the opposite side of the lake and a third would possibly be installed with pipes in the middle of the lake. The pipes would push air bubbles up through the water to mix it.

Burnett said that with oxygenation and the right marine life installed to eat the existing algae on the bottom of the lake, it could leave Spring Lake with a layer of clean sand and sediment.

Commissioners asked Burnett to bring back plans and a contract for the aeration system to their next meeting for further consideration and possible approval.

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