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Valley Lake water testing begins

Valley Lake water testing begins
18 January 2022

City of Mount Gambier Environmental Sustainability Officer Aaron Izzard (right) with Photon Water Head of Engineering Manuel Cilia and General Manager - Water Ian Phillipps and one of the two monitoring floats deployed at the Valley Lake today.
City of Mount Gambier Environmental Sustainability Officer Aaron Izzard (right) with Photon Water Head of Engineering Manuel Cilia and General Manager - Water Ian Phillipps and one of the two monitoring floats deployed at the Valley Lake
City of Mount Gambier Environmental Sustainability Officer Aaron Izzard (right) with Photon Water Head of Engineering Manuel Cilia and General Manager - Water Ian Phillipps and one of the two monitoring floats deployed at the Valley Lake today.

Two water quality monitoring floats have been deployed at the Valley Lake today to determine the algae species present in the water as a first step towards improving water quality for recreational use.

During the summer period the Valley Lake experiences algal blooms due to increased water temperature and light conditions which negatively impact on the recreational value of the water.

“We wish to find the most appropriate way to eliminate these blooms and reduce summer cyanobacteria and algae counts to below guideline levels outlined within the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines for managing risk in recreational water,” City of Mount Gambier Environmental Sustainability Officer Aaron Izzard said.

“The first step in attempting to improve the water quality is to try to understand the dynamics of the lake and the floats will assist with this.”

New South Wales based water investigation and solutions company Photon Water has deployed two floats on the lake to investigate the water quality at a variety of depths during the next four months.

“Characterising and measuring what is in the water and then looking at good control is a really logical way of approaching it. Doing it in the slow and scientific way,” Photon General Manager - Water Ian Phillipps said.

“This water management approach will ensure that scientifically principled and verified engineering solutions are considered and applied to fix the problem,” Mr Izzard said.

The first phase of the project is being implemented at a cost of about $14,000.

“The floats will measure temperature, salinity and oxygen. Tomorrow Photon Water will take samples and send them off within Australia and over to Europe to understand the exact species of algae and bacteria that is in there.”

“The floats will sit out on the lake until winter and then be removed and placed back out again in spring. The lake can still be used for recreational purposes during the investigation period as the floats are situated out of the way of watercraft and are clearly visible to ensure the safety of water users,” Mr Izzard said.

The results will inform the second stage of the project which will involve implementing water quality control solutions to reduce algal blooms.

Coming into the next summer season we should have a good understanding and hopefully some control methodology in place to improve the water quality. - Photon General Manager - Water Ian Phillipps

“Treatment of the algal blooms will lead to a healthier lake and natural environment. Reduction of algal blooms will also be beneficial for fish and invertebrate species that inhabit the lake,” Mr Izzard said.

“We also hope that by reducing the algal blooms that the lake may then be utilised for a wider variety of recreational purposes.”

Media contact: City of Mount Gambier Media and Communications Coordinator Sharny McLean on 8721 2401 or smclean@mountgambier.sa.gov.au