CELORON, N.Y. — A virtual public information session about a collaborative pilot study to reduce the impact of harmful algal blooms in Chautauqua Lake is set for 6 p.m. July 28.

The study by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will use innovative equipment to skim HABs from the lake and convert the material into bioenergy and fertilizer.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said the agency is working closely with state, federal and local partners to combat the environmental, recreational and public health effects caused by HABs.

“We encourage local residents and other stakeholders to learn more about this initiative to improve Chautauqua Lake at our virtual public information session,” he said.

Dr. Martin Page, material engineer at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory and HABITATS project manager, said the research project is developing a capability to remove and dispose of large quantities of algal biomass.

“By recovering resources in the process, the positive environmental impacts are achieved with reduced operations costs and footprint,” he said. “Those aspects are key to developing a truly scalable tool that can be used by stakeholders as part of a broader strategy to mitigate HABs.”

For several years, Chautauqua Lake has been affected by large, persistent algal blooms during the late summer months. As part of New York’s HABs Initiative, Chautauqua Lake was listed in 2018 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as one of 12 priority lakes and action plans were developed to address the causes of each lake’s blooms.

The USACE’s Engineer Research and Development Center is deploying its research demonstration project — called Harmful Algal Bloom Interception, Treatment and Transformation System (HABITATS) — in portions of the southern half of Chautauqua Lake later this year.

The pilot project uses floating skimmers on the lake to collect surface water laden with HABs. Once collected, the blooms are put through shore-based or mobile treatment processes, which detoxify the algae, concentrate it, and convert it into biocrude fuel and fertilizer.

During the process, treated water is cleaned, clarified and safely returned to the lake.

To register for the Tuesday, July 28, virtual public information session, go to:

The DEC notes that naturally occurring HABs vary in appearance from scattered green dots in the water; to long, linear green streaks; pea soup or spilled green paint; to blue-green or white coloration.

People, pets and livestock should avoid contact with water that is discolored or has algal scums on the surface. If members of the public suspect a HAB, report it through the NYHABs online reporting form available on the DEC’s website.

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