Homepage 2019 » Forums » Water Sustainability » Turning off the pump

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Larry Korn 5 years, 6 months ago.

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    There’s a non-profit near me that has public gardens, and I know that electricity is one of their most difficult bills to handle. They have a large man-made lake – dug in the early 60s – and two pumps out in the middle that run most of the year, most of the time (unless they’re broken). When the pumps are turned off, they have excessive algal bloom in warmer weather. There’s a blue heron, some smaller long-legged birds, some geese and ducks, along with a healthy population of snakes, frogs, toads, and at least a few types of fish. When the pumps do break down, it’s very difficult for the small crew there to handle it.

    I’d like to help them plan and prepare to turn the pumps off forever, which in my mind can only be good, right? I might do this for my certificate, but we’ll see.

    So far I’ve been able to observe the lake during three seasons, summer, fall and winter. I have some observations, and I suppose I’ll figure out what, if any, good they’ll do me with this goal.

    So, what are the first things I should think about when trying to help stabilize the system after turning off pumps which have been running for literally decades?



    Maybe this’ll become more clear as I get further into the courses, too. If that’s the case, just remind me patience is a virtue :o)



    Check out the work of John Todd. He uses natural filtration for cleaning waterways.



    Thanks! I will.



    Jayme, I have long been a fan of John Todd.

    MacKenzie, I am not an instructor, but have had a long time interest in ponds. My impression from what you wrote is that the pumps are used to circulate / aerate the water to prevent an excessive algal bloom? The non profit would like to cut the cost of electricity? Perhaps replacing with a solar or wind powered pump is a possibility?

    Here are a few items that you may find of interest.

    I know people who have used barley straw for algae with some success. I thought this a good article on the use of barley straw for algae control, which may or may not work. One thing that I liked about the article is that explains some legal issues to be aware of; what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says about using barley straw as an algicide (how to stay out of trouble with them). Also the best ways to apply it. “Barley Straw for Algae Control”
    Carole A. Lembi, Professor of Botany
    Botany and Plant Pathology, Purdue University

    Several Oregon watershed councils are experimenting with Paul Kay’s floating wetlands of “which he calls botanical burritos, that work through a combination of floating gardens that feed off of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous waste in the water, and may or may not use mechanical system that circulates the water. The wrapping that holds the gardens together resemble a tortilla.”

    At the end of one the experiment, he realized he should have placed the floating garden in the deepest part of the pond rather than the sunniest spot. He also said that the filtration improved when he turned the mechanical component off at night, allowing it to mimic circadian rhythms.

    A news article about the botanical burritos being used in parts of Southern Oregon. “Plant-based filtration”

    About an exhibit Paul Kay had at Science Works: “Solar-Powered Botanical Burritos: Putting Plants to Work to Clean Water and Earn a Harvest” http://www.scienceworksmuseum.org/Page.asp?NavID=544

    A youtube interview with Paul Kay at The Oregon Garden where he shows his portable “Rogue Six Pack” a water treatment system. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BerG8qZmzu0



    Larry Korn

    Thanks, Linda, Looks like you are way ahead of me on this one! Thanks!

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