Clear water from the Prairie Creek treatment train is a positive sign for the restoration of Grand Lake St. Marys, but LRC Manager Milt Miller cautions that phosphorus testing is needed to determine the full impact from the treatment train. Highlights from Shelly Grishop's recent article, published in The Daily Standard:
- Nearly crystal clear water is flowing into Grand Lake from Prairie Creek where a water treatment test has just begun. Local officials said they're thrilled with the preliminary results of the Prairie Creek Treatment Train on the south side of the lake.
- "It's just the coolest thing," Mercer County Economic Development Director Jared Ebbing said about the latest news. "It's (the project) having this big of an impact already and we're only getting started."
- The visibly clear discharge is water pumped from the nearby creek and diverted through naturally constructed littoral wetlands where foliage such as grasses and lily pads filter out unwanted nutrients.
- One of the steps not yet utilized in the treatment train is the addition of alum and chitosan (flocculant agents that remove water particles) in small ponds near the pumping station along state Route 219. That process will begin in several weeks. The overall goal of the 60-acre treatment train is to reduce nutrient and phosphorus levels in Prairie Creek before it reaches Grand Lake.
- Milt Miller, manager of the local Lake Restoration Commission, said he's anxious to see the results of future tests that measure phosphorus content of Prairie Creek before and after it flows through the treatment train. The scientific proof is needed to show it's working, he explained. "When we studied old aerial photographs before 1930, Mother Nature had 4,000 acres of wetlands at the lake," he said. "We're trying to duplicate that to keep the lake healthy."
- No one has to convince Mark Piening the treatment train is a positive step for Grand Lake. The nine-year resident of Aqua View and vice president of the Lake Improvement Association recently began hearing the chirping of frogs – a chorus he rarely heard before the project began, he said. "Sometimes I hear them all night like a symphony. It's a good sign for the environment," he said.
- Prairie Creek is one of seven main tributaries to Grand Lake St. Marys. Once the Prairie Creek treatment train is complete and results are verified, plans are to introduce wetlands to other lake tributaries – including Coldwater Creek and Big Chickasaw.