Tale of Two Data

Medora Corporation, the manufacturers of the SolarBee technology being tested at Jordan Lake as a substitute for the Division of Water Resource’s clean-up plan, has published an FAQ on their website defending their technology’s performance. Their comments are a hodge-podge of thoughts on the value of in-lake treatment, the importance of watershed planning, and suggestions that their in-lake experiment should be expanded to include the use of silica as a way to discourage harmful cyanobacteria growth.

Medora prefaces comments on the technology’s performance stating things like “…no U.S. lake over 1000 acres in size where the main nutrient load is from non-point sources (like Jordan Lake) has ever been “restored” by watershed management.” They also point out that the deployment of the 36 units is only serving a small potion of the 14,000 lake. While true, Medora claims each unit should suppress algae for 35 acres. Intentionally, the units have been concentrated in the most polluted areas of the lake at a density that should allow them to be effective at improving the water quality where they are located.

So, does Medora believe the technology has been effective?  Here’s are their main findings:

“The small “impaired” SolarBee-treated areas of the lake do in fact have a strong standing crop of algae from time to time, which in turn pushes pH and chlorophyll-a standards into exceedance. Medora data shows this occurs less frequently than that of the DEQ.”

They provide analysis supporting their claims.  Their charts illustrate that, DWR dtata is consistently showing higher levels of algae than Medora data.  It will be interesting to see how the discrepancy gets resolved.  Even with their more positive monitoring data, the lake would still be considered impaired for failing to meet water quality criteria. The State has committed to this in-lake approach for another four years so there will be more data to compare in this experiment.



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