MIDVALE, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – A local company claims its can kill the the algal bloom that is now spreading through Utah Lake, the Jordan River, and other associated bodies of water.
Alpine Technical Services (ATS) is working with state water officials to see if the possible ‘quick-fix solution’ is a good fit for Utah Lake.
“We spent quite a bit of time yesterday in discussions and answering questions,” said CEO/President Richard Allred.
Thousands of gallons of chemicals are stacked at ready to go right outside Allred’s Midvale office, and if there is ever a pressing need for a solution, it’s now. Officials say what started as a toxic algal bloom in Utah Lake is quickly spreading, reaching as far north as Murray. The cyanobacteria-breeding invasion is a major public health concern. Just this week, a Utah County employee who was sampling the contaminated water come down with symptoms.
“They can cause… vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, skin rashes,” listed Walter Baker, Director of the Utah Dept. of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Quality.
Allred says his company’s copper ion mixture is the solution. Already in use at Blackridge Reservoir in Herriman, the product supposedly kills off bad algae without harming protected wildlife.
“Really what happens is that the algae just gets a fatal dose of copper. Some copper is good, too much copper is bad, so it’s just enough that it kills the algae,” Allred explained.
His strategy, he says, would be to feed the chemicals into Provo Bay, where the bloom is most severe, then use boats to spray other blooms across Utah Lake.
“We had a call with [ATS],” confirmed Erica Gaddis, Asst. Director of the Division of Water Quality, adding that the DEQ is is exploring the copper ion solution as a possibility, among dozens of others, while exercising caution.
“It’s very important for us to make sure that we do our homework and that any treatment techniques that we recommend and apply are really safe,” Gaddis said.
Allred says 10,000 gallons of the ATS product, plus follow-up treatments, would likely do the trick at Utah Lake.
“I’ve got our best scientists looking at that right now,” Gaddis said.
Even if water officials do use the copper ion mixture, they say it is not an end-all be-all solution. They say cutting off the algae’s phosphorus nutrient source is their longterm plan.