The state of Ohio officially announced it will not be conducting another alum treatment on Grand Lake St. Marys, writes Nancy Allen in this Daily Standard article.  Key points from the article include:

  • Last year's alum treatment on Grand Lake reduced phosphorous levels by about the same amount as in 2011, but those levels rebounded much more quickly.
  • A report released this week on last year's treatment showed phosphorous levels at the end of the summer were as high as they'd been prior to treatment in April, report co-author Harry Gibbons of Tetra Tech Inc. said. The main reasons: heavy spring rain brought in phosphorous and then a summer drought concentrated it.
  • Had the lake not received alum in the spring, the lake's toxic blue-green algae blooms would have been much worse – phosphorus levels would have been 50 to 100 percent higher.
  • The results are not enough to convince the state to continue the expensive treatment.
  • The state spent $8.4 million for alum treatments the last two years. Some have called that a waste of money.
  • Milt Miller, manager of the local Lake Restoration Commission, disagrees: "So many people have taken issue with the alum treatment, but we feel confident, based on the science and what happened in 2010, it served its purpose as a temporary short-term tool while we explored other things in the watershed and other technologies," Miller said. "We knew going in alum was not in fact a long-term solution."
  • The LRC in recent years has raised thousands of dollars to test new technology and devices aimed at improving the lake's water quality.
  • Miller said he can't help but speculate what the lake's condition would be had it received what was considered a full dosage of alum in the entire 13,500-acre lake. The report says the lake received 25 percent of an optimal treatment.
  • "We know as evidenced by the science the positive effects of alum in the two treatment years as a partial dosage," Miller said. "We will always wonder what could have been had, we been able to have a full lake application."