Scientist attacks blue-green algae in Moncton lake
A Moncton scientist is planning to introduce a fine clay into the city's Irish Town resevoir in an effort to eliminate a blue-green algae from the lake this summer.
Alyre Chiasson, a biology professor at the University of Moncton, who is in charge of the project, is hoping to use the fine clay product called Phoslock to cut off the food supply to the potentially toxic algae.
Chiasson said he is going to enclose two small areas in the reservoir and in one they will insert the product.
"The way Phoslock works, it's a bit like a clay and within that clay there's an element that's able absorb phosphate," Chiasson said.
"Why is phosphate important? Phosphate is the major nutrient that's responsible for the growth of these blue-green algae."
Chiasson has received a $25,000 grant from the province's Environmental Trust Fund to do battle with the blue-green algae.
The algae bloom was first discovered in the reservoir in 2007 and 2008.
The city's website said that major concerns from contaminated water include severe diarrhea, headaches, vomiting and fever.
Chiasson was called in by the city last summer to try to find out why giant blooms of blue-green algae were taking over the Irish Town reservoir.
He and his students spent last summer looking for clues as to why so much algae was growing in the lake.
Chiasson said this summer is just a test to make sure the clay has no negative effect on plants, animals or the water.
He said the product has been tried safely in Ontario and Australia and if he gets similar positive results the whole lake will be treated next summer.