Treatment of Schiller pond begins

[USA] A company has begun treatment of the Schiller Park pond after elevated levels of toxic algae recently were discovered in the water.

The pond received its first application of algaecide last week from Aqua Doc, a lake-and-pond management company hired to rid the water of algal blooms.

From a small boat maneuvering around the eastern part of the pond, Shawn Spence and Chris Sullivan, both aquatic specialists for Aqua Doc, sprayed and scooped a copper-based chemical into the water.

The substance disrupts cell membranes in the algae, killing them and preventing them from growing, Spence said. Plant and wildlife will not be harmed by the treatment, he said.

Aqua Doc is scheduled to make one more application before the end of the year. That should be sufficient, but more algaecide might be required, Sullivan said.

“Every pond is different,” he said. “Every pond responds differently.”

Columbus is paying Aqua Doc a total of $970 to treat the ponds both Schiller and Krumm Park, on the northeast side, which also was found to have high levels of toxic algae.

Officials with the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department a couple of months ago found elevated levels of microcystin and planktothrix, two types of cyanobacteria — also known as blue-green algae — in the Schiller pond.

A number of issues are believed to have led to the growth of toxic algae: a mix of waterfowl droppings, a rainy spring followed by a prolonged dry spell and the buildup of organic material at the bottom of the pond, officials had said.

It is also old and shallow, roughly 3.5 feet deep, containing about 650,000 gallons of water across less than an acre of land, Sullivan said.

Cool weather usually kills off high levels of toxic algae — which otherwise are native and natural — but the algal blooms can return under the right conditions.

At Schiller, the city posted signs around the pond that warned pet owners not to let their dogs drink the water. The signs have since been removed. The levels were not considered harmful to humans, who are prohibited from entering the pond anyway.

Katharine Moore, chairwoman of Friends of Schiller Park, said she was pleased with the quick response to the issue from the Recreation and Parks Department.

“We’re are so appreciative of their willingness to contract (with Aqua Doc) and bring in the expertise and, of course, solving the issue,” Moore said.

“We very much appreciate that.”


Photo: Aqua Doc water specialist Shawn Spence checks the oxygen levels in the Schiller Park pond Nov. 11 before he and Aqua Doc’s Chris Sullivan treat an algal problem with a copper-based chemical that will not harm wildlife or plants.

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