Aeration plans take shape for Spring Lake

Aeration plans take shape for Spring Lake
Commissioners are hopeful that adding an aeration system to Spring Lake will help improve the water quality and allow the water to repopulate with marine life. - Kristin Swain | Sun

HOLMES BEACH – Relief is coming to the residents located around Spring Lake in the form of an aeration system for the ailing body of water.

City leaders have been searching for a way to help repair the damage done to the lake by a lift station leak back in 2016 that left the water polluted and acidic. At a previous meeting, City Engineer Lynn Burnett and her associate, Eron Wasserman, from LTA Engineers, gave commissioners two proposals – one for an aeration system and another for dredging. Due to the large cost of dredging and lack of access to the lake, commissioners opted for the aeration system during their April 23 meeting.

The aeration system involves an air compressor planned to be placed on an existing concrete pad near the northwest corner of the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church property, an air filtration system on the opposite side of Palm Drive, and a system of pipes running to the bottom of Spring Lake. The pipes, which will push air bubbles into the lake 24 hours a day, are capable of turning over the entire lake twice in one 24-hour period, moving around seven million gallons of water. A sound abatement apparatus is planned to be placed over the compressor, reducing the noise produced to about the same as what comes from a modern pool pump.

Burnett said she hopes that using the aeration system will create an oxygenated, uniform column of water in the lake that will be able to support marine life.

The lake is filled tidally via an outflow pipe running under Palm Drive from the Grand Canal near Gloria Dei. This naturally brackish water system will be retained.

To get the one-foot layer of algae off the bottom of the lake, Burnett and Wasserman said they are researching types of marine life that could thrive in the lake and eat the algae, leaving behind a two-foot deep layer of clean silt in the bottom of the manmade lake.

The cost to install the aeration system is estimated at $4,608.31 with around $380 annually in maintenance costs and around $2,000 for an electricity hookup from Florida Power and Light. Water quality testing is estimated at about $200 for bi-annual testing.

“I think it’s a go,” Commissioner Carol Soustek said.

Commissioner Kim Rash said he’d spoken with several residents in the area and found that more are in favor of installing the aeration system than attempting to dredge Spring Lake.

“It’s a good start,” Commissioner Jim Kihm said of installing the aeration system.

Mayor Judy Titsworth said she’s observed minnows in Spring Lake recently, along with jumping mullet.

“It is getting healthy,” she said of the water quality. “All we’ve got to do is keep it healthy.”

The aeration system is expected to be installed and operational by the end of May as long as the final contract passes legal review with the city attorney.

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