The Massachusetts Estuaries Project (MEP) has come under fire from the residents of the island town of Tisbury. It is not the first time that the residents are pursuing options to restore Lake Tashmoo and Lagoon Pond that have declined due to nitrogen entering the watershed and causing algae blooms. After dozens of reviews by a national panel composed of engineers, professors and policy makers, the MEP was endorsed as a model.
MEP Director Brian Howes welcomed the criticisms because he believes that the people have a right to do so. On the three public hearings by the Tisbury board of health, some have casted doubt on MEP and presented their calculations and suggested different causes for the presence of nitrogen in the watersheds. A self-described amateur environmentalist, Donald Muckerheide suggested that groundwater has no role in the decline of saltwater ponds. He has suggested mechanical aeration to jump start the growth of plants and microorganisms that would consume excess nitrogen and bottom sediment which he believes resulted from a surface runoff and the effects of acid rain that started 30 years ago.
Three years ago, Muckerheide purchased a device that can be used to restore the health of the island ponds for a fraction of the cost of wastewater solutions. The device called the Toring Turbine had a 5-horsepower motor with a shaft and an 8-inch disc that spins to create negative vacuum and tiny bubbles that aerate the water. Muckerheide also believes that there is still enough oxygen on the island’s ponds but not the surplus required for the support of aerobic microbes and aerobic decomposition. He added that another form of aeration involves pumping water from the bottom or forcing it down from the surface could stir nitrogen in the bottom sediment and result into additional algae blooms. Dredging can be a problem as well because after a few years you are back to facing the same problem.
Pond & Lake Aeration is a technique that has been well developed to successfully clean water systems and turn a lake over to allow for more oxygen that is necessary for the survival of aquatic life. Aside from reducing mosquitoes, aeration also eliminates the foul odor resulting from dissolved gases.