Battelle, the world's largest independent research and development organization, excels at tackling big, complex problems. So it's a natural fit for it to assess proposed restoration technologies that would help mitigate the harmful blooms of algae and toxic cyanobacteria in Grand Lake St. Marys.
For a third consecutive summer, excessive blooms threaten to plague the 12,700-acre lake in western Ohio. The forced closure of the lake to all recreational activities last year resulted in the loss of an appreciable portion of the $150 million in annual tourism revenue for the area and could mean the same this year. The problem is exacerbated by the potential loss of some of the 2,500 jobs the lake supports. The algae blooms generally have been linked to both manmade and natural causes, so mitigation proposals will aim at a diverse range of options both in the lake and upstream.
While Battelle promotes environmental stewardship around the world, it also is focused on the challenges in its home state. The organization is bringing the power of science and technology to bear in solving the problem for Ohio's largest inland lake – a recreational gem.
The work will continue for the next six months.
Originally constructed in the mid 1800s to store water for the Miami-Erie Canal, the shallow lake has for the past few decades become increasingly enriched with nutrients, particularly phosphates that enter the lake from various sources in the watershed, including on-land manure spreading practices.
Battelle's contract with the Western Ohio Education Foundation, in cooperation with Wright State University Lake Campus, is funded by grants from the Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Commission and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Battelle will provide experts for the performance of three tasks:
- Screening evaluations for vendor-proposed lake restoration technologies
- Provide status/feedback to state and local stakeholder groups
- Assess and recommended aeration technologies for GLSM sheltered areas
As the world's largest independent research and development organization, Battelle provides innovative solutions to the world's most pressing needs through its four global businesses: Laboratory Management; National Security; Health and Life Sciences; and Energy, Environment and Material Sciences. It advances scientific discovery and application by conducting $6.5 billion in global R&D annually through contract research, laboratory management and technology commercialization. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle oversees 22,000 employees in more than 130 locations worldwide, including seven national laboratories which Battelle manages or co-manages for the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and a nuclear energy lab in the United Kingdom.
Battelle also is one of the nation's leading charitable trusts focusing on societal and economic impact and actively supporting and promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.