SolarBee deployment in Jordan Lake to begin today
RALEIGH – State officials said that solar-powered water circulators are being installed today in Jordan Lake with the goal of reducing chlorophyll-a concentrations associated with algae in the lake.
Thirty-six of the water circulators, known as SolarBee machines, will be placed at two locations in Jordan Lake to circulate the water in an effort to prevent algae from forming in the stagnant, warm water where it tends to thrive. The Environmental Protection Agency has designated Jordan Lake as “impaired” under the federal Clean Water Act because excessive amounts of algae that formed in the lake due to the gradual buildup of nutrients from stormwater runoff, wastewater and other sources.
Twelve SolarBees will be spaced 1,300 feet apart in the Haw River arm in the southern part of Jordan Lake and 24 other machines will be similarly spaced in the Morgan Creek arm at the northern end of the lake. These arms have demonstrated high levels of chlorophyll-a due to the amount of nutrients coming into the lake from these watersheds and the long retention time. Deploying all the SolarBees is estimated to take about two weeks.
In 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted Session Law 2013-360, which required the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to establish a 24-month demonstration project for the management of nutrients in Jordan Lake.
The Division of Water Resources performed baseline sampling in the lake before the SolarBee machines were installed. With the machines in place, water quality monitoring will be conducted once a month for 18 months, according to the Division of Water Resources Demonstration Project Monitoring Plan. The state agency will collect water samples to determine the type and amount of any algae that is present and to test for nitrogen, phosphorus, turbidity, and chlorophyll-a, which is an indicator of algal activity.
The division also will collect physical data for temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH and conductivity. Water quality monitoring information will be available online at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/wq/jordancirculator. The division will report its findings to the General Assembly by Oct. 1, 2015.
SolarBees, which are manufactured by the Medora Corporation, are designed to reduce taste and odor problems that may affect drinking water, and improve dissolved oxygen levels, pH levels and aesthetics in the lake. They are designed to complement other nutrient- and pollution-reduction measures advocated by the EPA.