Ultrasonic technology ‘doing its job’ of fighting harmful algae in NJ
WEST MILFORD — Solar-powered ultrasonic devices deployed in early September appear to be controlling in one New Jersey lake what's become a growing problem in bodies of water across the Garden State.
One of many projects aimed at tackling the problem of harmful algal blooms, a state-funded 36-month pilot program at Echo Lake has reportedly been doing it's intended job — disrupting the photosynthesis of bacteria and limiting algae's ability to reach harmful levels, by emitting ultrasound into the water.
LG Sonic US has six of its algae-control buoys on the lake, which primarily acts as a reservoir for the city of Newark.
Experts are taking readings every 30 minutes and can change the buoys' frequencies if they detect an upward change in algae count.
"And then by keeping the system running, we control the algae from forming initially," Greg Eiffert, director of LG Sonic, told New Jersey 101.5.
LG Sonic has their technology running in 30 countries; more than 20 of these systems are running the United States. According to Eiffert, most projects see algae counts decline by 70 to 90% within the first three months.
The buoys in Echo Lake will be removed in December for the colder months, and return in April, according to Kleinfelder, the engineering firm managing the units.
"It has been doing its job. The algae count has been very, very low," said Felipe Contreras, project manager.
But 2021 will provide the firm with its first full season of data. The threat of harmful algal blooms is greater during the summer months due to more sunlight and warmer temperatures, which interact with stagnant, nutrient-rich water.
New Jersey experts in August noted the HAB problem is worsening in the Garden State — more of a statewide distribution in 2020, instead of a problem mostly for the northern part of the state.
In March, the New Department of Environmental Protection announced $2.5 million in grants for nine local projects aimed at minimizing the impact of HABs in New Jersey.
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