Officials tasked with helping heal Grand Lake St. Marys plan to revamp a piece of equipment to better use its strengths.

Lake Improvement Association President Tim Lovett revealed to members of the Lake Improvement Association the sediment collectors placed in various tributaries leading into the lake have not been as successful as anticipated. The collectors were installed to help reduce the amount of sediment pouring into the lake.

“Last year we had a pretty good push to get some things in the water,” Lovett said. “I think at this point in time, the sediment collectors haven’t been as effective as we thought they should be. We’ve got some work to do on that.”

The devices are turned off. However, Lovett said officials are re-examining how to use the devices in an alternate way.

“We’re looking at ways to use those,” Lovett said. “Don’t get disappointed — we spent a lot of money and they aren’t going to work.”

A potential use for the devices is in conjunction with a treatment train. A treatment train is a multi-faceted approach to cleaning a tributary.

“Part of that treatment train is a sediment separator,” Lovett said. “We’re also looking at if there are ways we can take the couple of other sediment collectors and use them in different areas in these streams and tributaries. So it’s not a complete bust.”

Lovett also noted Battelle continues to scrutinize and review firms that submitted ways to help improve the water quality at Grand Lake St. Marys. To date, more than 70 firms have submitted proposals.

“Battelle is currently scrubbing that list,” Lovett said. “We’re expecting to end up probably in the neighborhood of five to 10. Once we get to that list then the concept would be to actually let them come in here and do a demonstration. So that’s on going and that’s all good stuff because at the end of the day, we’re not going to fix this with state money or federal money. We’re going to fix this with private industry that figures out how to make money with this.”

Results from June’s alum treatment are expected next month. Lovett said he hopes the science backs up the visual improvement in the lake this year.

Grand Lake St. Marys Park Manager Brian Miller said a company will host a demonstration for officials to show off its process for turning dredged material into potting soil. If successful, Miller noted it could be a way to dispose of the massive amount of dredged material removed from the lake this year.

“Basically they had these Mason jars and said here is the Mason jar of what you give us and here’s the Mason jar of what we can do with it,” Miller said. “The Mason jar of what they could do with it was potting soil. It’s very interesting technology.”

Dredges continue to pump material out of the lake on a daily basis. So far, Miller said crews have removed 150,000 cubic yards of material from the lake. The goal for the season is 200,000.

“I can’t tell you the last time that program in one year moved that much material,” Miller said.

Core samples will be taken from 50 sites within the lake. The sampling should help determine what is in the dredge material and how it can be used.

“We’re just looking at taking it to the next step,” Miller said. “Just continuing to pump into these dredged material relocation areas just isn’t going to work.”

The next meeting of the LIA is scheduled for 10 a.m. Sept. 3 at the Celina Moose Lodge.


By Mike Burholder, The Evening Leader