8/6/13

In the news: Finding a better way to get rid of unwanted algae

Each year, Great Lakes beach managers have to remove trucks full of slimy algae from the beachfront areas to keep them enjoyable for residents and visitors. But it can be a costly process and a regular need that could be met in a more environmentally friendly way. 

From The Great Lakes Echo
"Truckloads of the stuff are hauled to landfills every week or so, but beach managers want a greener and cheaper method of disposal.

'Algae removal is sort of a routine beach-grooming thing that we do, but because it’s wet and heavy, it can be expensive to dispose of,' said Cathy Breitenbach, director of Green Initiatives for the Chicago Park District, which is responsible for 26 miles of lakefront in the city. She’s hoping to find an alternative that saves taxpayers money and is more sustainable than taking it to the dump like the district does now.

Composting may seem like an obvious solution, but it’s not as simple as it sounds, say algae experts. Cladophora mats can harbor large concentrations of bacteria, including some potentially dangerous varieties.

'We have evidence to show that E. coli bacteria are found in very high densities in Cladophora mats,’ said Murulee Byappanahalli, a research microbiologist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Lake Michigan Ecological Research Station in Porter, Ind."
Read the complete article at the link above to learn more about algae and the need for a greener, cleaner way to dispose of it.

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