One-of-a-kind technology keeping Lake George clean

BOLTON LANDING, NY (NEWS10) – If you are a community on the Lake George waterfront, chances are you are very concerned about keeping the water in the lake clean. The project for this has just been completed in two years of work to save harmful toxins from the water, so its leaders believe it has never been done before.

The City of Bolton Landing and the Lake George FOUNDATION have spent the past 27 months studying a new bioreactor installed in the city that uses wood chips to purify water entering tributaries in the lake. The job of the bioreactor is to remove nitrates, which can lead to harmful algae growth and fuel the formation of toxic algae that have appeared on the lake and lowered water health in other Adirondack reservoirs.

As a result, 38% less nitrate is in the wastewater that moves from the bioreactor to the tributaries. It is a success for both the city and the FUND.

“It’s green technology and low-energy,” said Lake Water Guardian George Chris Novinsky. “It fits perfectly into the city.”

Here’s how it works. Bolton Landing wastewater passes into a trench 20 feet wide and 4 feet deep. It is a trench full of wood chips, which is inhabited by bacteria that live from this wood. It’s not bad for bacteria, except for one thing they don’t get; oxygen.

As wanting oxygen, nitrates in water become a feast. Bacteria break down these nitrates, releasing gas components and consuming oxygen to thrive. It is a passive treatment process, paying for it much easier than traditional treatment, which can cost millions of dollars.

Successful two years and changes later, Bolton Landing is going to expand the operation. The city has just received a $ 246,000 grant to build two more bioreactors. If the former takes care of about a third of the nitrate in the water, three should take care of just about everyone, especially if some excesses over the last 27 months are eliminated.

“That’s where we are now,” said Bolton Landing Town chief Ron Canaver. “Assessing the various problems we had during the operation and how from an engineering point of view we could design new wood chip filters to address some of these problems.”

One of the advantages of wood chips is that it does not need to be chosen. They last 10 to 12 years as long as the bacteria continue to feed on nitrates. The use of wood chips as a filtration mechanism also creates a possible new way to study timber.

“Wooden chips aren’t exactly cheap,” Canaver said. “They have commercial applications in landscaping and elsewhere, so there are costs. But if you look at the cost of a basic, new element of denitrification for a plant with wider operation, it could easily exceed a million dollars. ”

The Bolton Landing reactor may be one of a kind, but there are others that have led to its implementation. The village of Lake George uses a periodic reactor that achieves a lot, but is more based on the equipment that needs to be serviced.

Now that the wood chip method has been successful, not only Bolton Landing is likely to get more. THE FOUNDATION for Lake George is already communicating with other communities that are interested in building their own reactors. Even in the village of Lake George there may be too high a demand for efficient reactor use, but the Adirondack Park is full of communities that can endlessly use it to keep local lakes cleaner and safer.

“For these small settlements of the North, which have 60 or 70 years of wastewater facilities and no technology, this is a good fit. It’s not a big demand for territory – maybe 20 by 100 feet – and you can have a few. I think it can be really useful for these communities, ”Novitsky said.

The FOUNDATION has only just begun to spread information, but has already made presentations for Lake Champlain and several magazines in the industry. In the future, they will be represented in the Lake George Park Commission and the Adirondack Park Commission.

A visit to Bolton Landing to see the bioreactor will show you only the field and some open pipes. However, if the next two reactors are built there, the FUND hopes to take down and document the process.

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