November 13, 2006

Schindler and associates awarded $50K grant for water quality research

EDMONTON, ALTA-Alberta Environment has awarded a $50,000 grant to Dr David Schindler and his team of researchers to study possible scientific methods to improve water quality in a number of Alberta lakes. The University of Alberta professor and his colleagues will examine eutrophication, i.e. the excessive plant growth in lakes resulting from high levels of nutrients such as phosphorus. The researchers will test ways of decreasing phosphorus arising from lake bottom sediments. Specifically, they will look at how sulfur and iron interact to release phosphorus from these sediments and what might be done to reverse or slow that process. "We know that the most effective way to prevent eutrophication (the greening of lakes by algal blooms) is by preventing nutrients from septic tanks, agriculture and other sources from reaching the lakes. But some Alberta lakes are already well along the path to eutrophication, with phosphorus recycled for many years from nutrient-saturated lake sediments," explained Dr Schindler, a renowned water researcher. "We will explore some possible ways to reduce the recycling of phosphorus from sediments, speeding the recovery process. If our small-scale experiments succeed, we will evaluate the cost of using them at full lake scales." The study will help address concerns raised by Alberta residents last summer about the quality of water in Pigeon Lake, Lac Ste Anne and other lakes.

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