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'SolarBees' Poised To Churn Jordan Lake

The state commission overseeing plans to treat pollution in Jordan Lake did not make any recommendations during its last meeting.
JT Taylor
Flickr/Creative Commons

State environmental officials are overseeing the installation of special machines in Jordan Lake starting today. 

SolarBees are water circulators intended to prevent algae from storm water runoff from forming in the lake.  Installers are placing a total of 36 machines: 12 in the Haw River arm of the lake and 24 more in the Morgan Creek tributary.  

Susan Massengale is a spokeswoman with the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.  She says this step begins 18 months of water testing.

"We'll be collecting samples for chlorophyll-a, turbidity, nitrogen, well as your typical physical data with water temperature, what's the dissolved oxygen like, pH levels and conductivity -- and this will give us a picture of water quality over time," Massengale says.

The General Assembly passed legislation in 2013 making the project possible.  The results will be reported to lawmakers in October.  Massengale says she knows there will be quite a bit of interest in the results.

"It is more or less a research project for us to see what happens when they're in the lake and see how we're doing," she says. "We've done some baseline monitoring and we'll be monitoring regularly through the period that they'll be in the water."

Water quality will be tested once a month for the next year and a half.  Massengale says if the machines work as anticipated, oxygen levels in the lake water should improve.  Tastes and odors that adversely affect drinking water should also be diminished.

Gurnal Scott joined North Carolina Public Radio in March 2012 after several stops in radio and television. After graduating from the College of Charleston in his South Carolina hometown, he began his career in radio there. He started as a sports reporter at News/Talk Radio WTMA and won five Sportscaster of the Year awards. In 1997, Gurnal moved on to television as general assignment reporter and weekend anchor for WCSC-TV in Charleston. He anchored the market's top-rated weekend newscasts until leaving Charleston for Memphis, TN in 2002. Gurnal worked at WPTY-TV for two years before returning to his roots in radio. He joined the staff of Memphis' NewsRadio 600 WREC in 2004 eventually rising to News Director. In 2006, Raleigh news radio station WPTF came calling and he became the station's chief correspondent. Gurnal’s reporting has been honored by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, the North Carolina Associated Press, and the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas.
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