POINTE AU BARIL – To combat blue-green algae outbreaks in Sturgeon Bay, Archipelago Township has asked for provincial permission to try Phoslock.
Sturgeon Bay treatment could happen in 2013.
The 2007 blue-green algae out break in Sturgeon Bay. Archipelago Township has applied to the Ministry of Natural Resources to put Phoslock in the bay to combat the algae’s growth.
North Star file photo
“Phoslock is a bentonite clay product modified with lanthanum (a metallic element),” said Karrie Bennett, Ministry of Natural Resources resource management technician. “The theory is that upon application, the product will bind with phosphorus in the water column while sinking to the lakebed where it will form a permeable layer and continue to bind with phosphorus released by sediments. If the product effectively reduces phosphorus this will mean less available food for algae.”
The township is asking permission to dump 60 metric tonnes into the north basin of Sturgeon Bay. That’s the amount recommended by the manufacturers to treat a 60-hectare area, taking into consideration water depth and current phosphorus levels.
“We’ve had a water quality committee that has been involved both the province and federal departments that deal with the environment and after ongoing studies of the issue for at least eight years we narrowed it down to this option,” said township chief administrative officer Steve Kaegi.
If the province grants permission, the township will seek funding partners from both levels of upper government to cover the estimated $300,000 price tag. It expects the product could go in the water in 2013.
A pilot project using Phoslock in Canada was approved last year, said Bennett, and monitoring reports from that are expected soon.
The ministry is looking at potential impacts to aquatic and mammal life that uses the water and, if it’s approved for use in Sturgeon Bay “there are a number of protective measures relating to fisheries, species at risk and recreational uses of the water that will likely come into play,” said Bennett.
The public can submit comments on the application to the Ministry of Natural Resources until March 28.
As of Friday the ministry had received 51 comments.