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City acts to deodorize Simon Lake

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 | Apr 24, 2008 - 4:06 PM |

BY BILL BRADLEY

Call it deodorant for a smelly lake. The City of Greater Sudbury will lease to purchase a new technology to reduce algae and odour in Simon Lake in Walden.

The idea was pitched by Coun. Jacques Barbeau who received the support he needed Wednesday night at city council to take action on a foul problem in his Walden ward.

The city will acquire a coherent water resonator for $670,000 to reduce problems from algae blooms in Simon Lake. The equipment can increase dissolved oxygen levels in the water that help aquatic life as well.

The expenditure is an unbudgeted item for 2008.

“The situation last year was absolutely horrendous. Not only the look of it (in Simon Lake) but the stench was something else to behold,” said Barbeau.

“Anyone who lived on the lake, or canoed on it could not even do that. If you had dogs or children they could not go into the lake. The park at Simon Lake became useless. In past years, you would see hundreds of people out there,” he said.

Lower water levels in spring, which prevents lake flushing, along with hotter summers in the past three years, have combined to cause foul odours, making recreation on the popular lake unpleasant.

“It's a case that past practices have contributed to. It is a problem all residents in the city have contributed to,” said Barbeau.

High phosphorus levels in the lake provide nutrients for the algae plants. The phosphorous is thought to originate from the direct dumping of sewage by the former city of Sudbury into Junction Creek and Kelly Lake before a sewage treatment plant was built in 1972.

The City of Greater Sudbury purchased a water resonator for use in a Vale Inco tailings pond, late last year after numerous complaints from residents.

Stephen Monet, Greater Sudbury's manager of environmental planning programs told councillors the tailings pond experience showed the technology to be raising the oxygen level in the water and helped along with other measures to reduce the foul odour. The coherent water resonator is manufactured by Cheney Resources in Washington State.

Monet recommended the city wait a year to see if they could obtain outside funding while monitouring the results coming from the tailings pond resonator installation.

Barbeau would have none of that.

“This problem created here in my ward was caused by the whole community from the dumping of sewage both in the tailings pond and in the Junction Creek system 30 years ago. Why delay action for another year?”

One by one councillors came over to his side, including Mayor John Rodriguez.

“This is a human problem. We did this so we should fix it. I've been there. The smell is terrible though in 1962 you could have a nice swim there,” said Rodriguez.

“I am fully confident we will see some great results in Simon Lake and we can use this system in other lakes too to clear up similar problems,”  said Barbeau.

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