Andy and Ron

Courtney Glancy

June 9, 2020

TREEO Pond Clean-Up

Last week, a few of our employees took the extra job description ‘other duties as assigned’ to a new level. Suited up in chest-high waders and our OPWD hats, Laurie Brown, Andy Campbell and Ron Trygar volunteered to climb into the TREEO pond to clean up some gunk that had been building up while we’ve been away from the facility.

On the sidelines providing snacks, extra help and excellent photography of the activity were Kady Morris and Vivian Li. We even had some help from junior snack-runner, Jada!

According to Ron Trygar, TREEO Water/Wastewater Programs Instructor, the TREEO pond receives reclaimed water from the GRU Kanapaha Water Reclamation Facility. Since there are still nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus in the liquid, algae can live and grow in the warm water and plentiful sunshine. Since February, a dense population of a stringy filament algae began growing rapidly. We identified the algae as Cladophora, also known as ‘blanket weed’ since it makes thick mats of green algae on the water surface. Although the algae does provide shelter for small aquatic organisms, fish, turtles, etc., it can be the cause of an oxygen deficiency and fish-kill if there is a large die-off of the algae and decomposition by bacteria. Plus it looks really yucky.

In order for Ron to treat the pond and control the algae with a fish friendly chemical, and not cause the lack of oxygen problem, we needed to physically remove as much algae as possible manually before any application of the Green-Clean algicide (sodium carbonate peroxy-hyrdate, which is essentially a formulation of baking soda and high strength peroxide).

“We used a 10’ long x 4’ wide seine net and chest-high waders to get in the pond and harvest the algae. It was somewhat difficult as the middle areas of the pond channels have much silt and muck at the bottom that we sank down in. In some places, we sank down more than two feet!” – Ron Trygar

Laurie was the official aquatic organism rescue person – she scooped as many fish, tadpoles and crayfish as she could out of the wads of algae we brought to shore. She returned these critters to the water so they could live another day.

The information provided in this post regarding the logistics behind the TREEO pond clean-up was from Ron Trygar, TREEO Water/Wastewater Programs Instructor