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Monday, November 10, 2008

Pilot project shows “great promise” for removing phosphorus pollution

Representatives of local and provincial government gathered near the Town of Newmarket municipal offices Thursday to launch a project they hope will remove phosphorus pollution from the streams and the lake.

Hosted by the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA), the event was held at the Cane Parkway stormwater management pond where a product called Phoslock was applied to the water. The project is being operated in partnership with, and funded by, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

“The lake is a vibrant part of our geography and the symbol for our watershed,” said East Gwillimbury Councillor and LSRCA Chair Virginia Hackson. “Although problems end up in the lake, that’s not where they begin. Problems like phosphorus begin here, upstream from the lake, and solutions need to be applied here.”

Phoslock was mixed with water to form a slurry, which was then spread on the surface of the pond. As the mixture sank through the water, it attracted dissolved phosphorus in the water and locked it up so it was no longer available as a nutrient to plants and algae.

Through extensive testing and usage around the world, Phoslock has been demonstrated to remove up to 95% of the phosphorus and not to harm the water or the plants and animals that live there.

The project will investigate the effectiveness of Phoslock and to determine if it is appropriate for use in other sites in the watershed including the Holland Marsh. “

Phoslock shows great promise,” Hackson said. “We hope new solutions like this will continue to advance our effort to restore balance to our watershed and to our lake. Because balance is what lies at the heart of what we all want – what we’re all working for. Balance will help us achieve an environment that fulfills our needs today, and will be there to fulfill the needs of the generations to come.”

Phoslock is made from clay and an element called lanthanum. These substances are not harmful in the concentrations that will be applied in this project. Lanthanum, in fact, is taken internally by kidney disease patients as a medical treatment to reduce phosphates in their blood.

Next steps in the Cane Parkway project will be monitoring for the next month to determine how effectively the application has reduced phosphorus in the pond. At the same time, the LSRCA will monitor for other signs of change.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's hope this isn't what is killing our carp in Lake Simcoe! Have any studies been done to ensure that these bottom feeders aren't affected dwon the road?

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