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Diffused Aeration Project in Syracuse

In 2016, I was contacted by Richard Abbott to consult with him for planning an aeration installation in Woodland Reservoir in Syracuse, NY to reduce Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae).

Blue-green algae are harmful in water reservoirs specifically and also in recreational waters as they produce harmful toxins, when triggered, really harmful toxins. Neurotoxins, hepatotoxins, and dermotoxins (brain, liver, and skin toxins respectively). For example, Toledo, Ohio had to shut down the entire city water system because of blue green algae in Lake Erie in 2014. Blue-green algae enjoy stagnant, non-moving water, and dominate under those conditions. Diffused aeration circulates huge volumes of water and disrupts the pH, temperature, and the amount of sunlight that blue-green algae need to grow and dominate.  

We worked together on the project and compromised some on the initial installation to accommodate for budget and electrical power availability. We placed six high volume diffusers in the reservoir based on two locations, one at each end of the reservoir where a post mountable cabinet and ¾ HP rocking piston compressor provides air to supply each set of three diffusers. I wanted to add more diffusers to ensure success, however the modified plan produced great results. Later more diffusers were added to the reservoir based on initial success, and they were also using ultrasonic technology to treat the algae. Diffused aeration works more efficiently at inducing water flow in deeper waters. With diffusers placed at 25-35 feet of depth, we were getting great flow: approximately 100 million gallons of induced flow per day. The effects on the reduction in blue-green population was effective as well: a reduction of 77-96%. 

Woodland Reservoir has treated each year with thousands of pounds of copper sulfate based algaecide to achieve inconsistent results for 44 years. Thanks to Richard Abbotts’ leadership, they have reduced the blue green populations significantly each year. In 2019, and 2020 they did not treat with any algaecide. Estimated savings for the City of Syracuse…$16,000 per year. We are proud to have been a part of this project. 

In March of 2018, I was invited to speak to the Water Producers of New York at their regional meeting on the subject of aeration and reducing blue-green algae. I was able to meet with Richard in person, tour the facility and reservoir, as well as present a talk with the Water Producers of New York. It was pretty cold for a Louisiana guy, but well worth the trip.

In 2020, Richard Abbott produced an article on the project and I had the privilege of reviewing it. Read more about the full project here

Check out the video below of these diffusers operating in the reservoir as divers inspect the installation for maintenance.


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