Clarkson University combating harmful algal blooms in New York waters

Clarkson University combating harmful algal blooms in New York waters
Clarkson University (Source: WWNY)

POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWNY) - Clarkson University will be working to reduce the threat of harmful algal blooms in New York waters.

Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Thursday.

Clarkson and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry will deploy new technologies to combat harmful algal blooms, or "HABs," in Lake Neatahwanta this summer.

Last year, Cuomo challenged the schools to use their scientific expertise in water quality to develop new and innovative technologies to reduce the impact of HABs.

SUNY ESF and Clarkson University will demonstrate the effectiveness of their experimental inventions this summer.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will host a virtual public information session about the deployment of the experimental projects on Wednesday, August 12, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Lake Neatahwanta is a 715-acre lake near the city of Fulton, Oswego County, used for recreation, including swimming, boating, and fishing.

The lake has widespread HABs each year. Recent lake water quality data, collected by DEC, indicates the lake is eutrophic with high levels of nutrients, algae, and toxins associated with HABs. HABs on Lake Neatahwanta have been documented since the start of DEC's HAB monitoring program in 2012, and typically appear in May and persist throughout the summer into late October.

In March 2019, New York state designated Clarkson University and SUNY ESF to co-lead a new Center of Excellence (CoE) in Healthy Water Solutions to deliver synergistic problem-solving on the wide range of water issues impacting the Empire State. Clarkson's world-class technical and engineering innovation expertise in healthy water systems and ESF's renowned expertise in monitoring, watershed ecosystem management, and solution development uniquely position the CoE to create and leverage partnerships across the public-private sectors.

Through the new Clarkson - SUNY ESF CoE in Healthy Water Solutions, New York state is creating an international model for protecting the public's health and State's ecosystems while serving as an engine for economic growth and vitality.

Clarkson and SUNY ESF have each developed a novel HAB mitigation technology. The technologies are hydrodynamic cavitation with hydrogen peroxide and electrochemical oxidation filtration, respectively.

While these technologies are currently in prototype status, DEC anticipates that both institutions will have full-scale, deployable devices ready for evaluation of the treatment of HABs this summer.

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