While cleanup in the Gulf is still ongoing, it seems like Kevin Costner & his company have left the public limelight just as quickly as they had come in to it. In the last month I’ve been showing a client Minnesota lakeshore homes and it occurred to me that maybe this technology can save more than just oceans by cleaning up more than just oil.
Many of Minnesota’s lakes and home owner’s lakeshore are severely impaired by huge algae blooms that occur in the mid to late summer months. The source of these blooms are the overabundance of nutrients in the lake from the runoff from farm land, lawns, industry, etc. While much has been done in recent years to reduce the amount of nutrients dumped into our lakes, the nutrients already in the lake are simply recycled over and over, which is why so many lakes are still so bad. While algae is vital to lake ecosystems, at excessive levels it can become not only an eyesore but also kill fish and plants and even become toxic to humans.
This summer in particular seems to have been tough on lakes – extra rains brought more runoff and the high heat has encouraged algae to grow at prodigious rates. My client and I looked at some lake homes for sale that had lakeshore so full of algae it looked like gelatin.
Costner’s company’s largest centrifuge is capable of cleaning 200 gallons per minute. Just like we have milfoil harvesters for eliminating that frustrating pond weed, perhaps we could slap together a few algae harvesters to help improve lake water quality, or maybe they could make a little barge that floats around just off the lakeshore like those automatic pool cleaning robots?
As an added bonus, there’s oil in that there algae and as this guy shows with his simple design, centrifuges certainly can be used to extract it – there are many others that seem to offer solutions too. Maybe some of the cost of cleaning the lakes can be recouped by the value of the oil in the algae?
Much of the value of Minnesota’s lakeshore property is based on the water quality of the lake – if lake water quality were to improve substantially through a system like this, the value of the homes on that lake would improve as well!