Grand Lake St. Marys, the poster child for algae pollution in Ohio, is getting some federal help.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown's office announced this morning that the Department of Agriculture is making available $1 million toward the purchase of a methane digester.
What is a methane digester? The facility turns methane from manue into energy. Manure that is spread onto farm fields as fertilizer often washes off in the rain and ends up in streams and eventually lakes. The phosphorus from these wastes feed the toxic algae that grows in so many Ohio ponds and lakes.
Blue-green algae, also called cyanobacteria, is common in most Ohio lakes but grows thick in water feeding on phosphorus from manure, fertilizers and sewage that rain washes into streams and eventually into lakes.
The algae can produce liver and nerve toxins.
Grand Lake St. Marys has been suffered with excessive algae for three years. Warnings to stay away from the water have hurt tourism at the western Ohio lake. This year the warnings are not as grave.
Quasar Energy Group of Cleveland was sought the $1 million federal grant for the $2.24 million facility.
The facility likely would be located south of the lake in a central spot in the watershed and take six months to build. The amount of manure to be processed isn't set, but three producers in the watershed have said they can each supply up to 50 tons of manure daily.
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