Weed harvester makes it rounds

PIQUA — A familiar “boat” was out on area waters Wednesday afternoon, the city’s weed harvester that is, doing what it does best – harvest weeds. A task that not only improves the aesthetics of Franz Pond, Echo Lake, Swift Run… Lake and Rocky Ridge Lake (Or the Gravel Pit) but their health.

The weed harvester was under the operation of Ryan Scott and, weather permitting, harvests weeds and algae to eliminate eutrophication which makes the water stagnant. This can cause unwanted algae growth and odors, along with the need for extended purification time at the water treatment plant.

The harvester can remove small bits of trash, too, and allows for the seasonal application of copper sulfate by the water department that helps in algae control.

The harvester was part of a much-anticipated project under the direction of city leaders, Piqua CAC (Community Action Council) and the area watershed groups compromised of the Middle Great Miami River Alliance and Protecting our Water Ways or POWW.

Along with the assistance of grant from the Lundgard Foundation Association, the 30-foot, barge-style boat was brought home mid-June 2012. It consists of a five-foot cutting head that removes noxious weeds in the water which can then be loaded onto a city dump truck via the use of a conveyor operated with an engine attached to the trailer.

Keeping with the tradition of providing a boat with a woman’s name, the new weed harvester was crowned the S.S. Amy H., after Amy Havenar, city engineer and member of the CAC.

Photo caption: Piqua city employee Ryan Scott chugs away as he cleans excess weeds from Echo Lake on Wednesday.

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