Algae, if left unchecked can kill nearly all life in a pond or lake, make it difficult to use the lake for expected recreational purposes, and can also be smelly and unsightly. For many years, the Park District battled the algae that grows year round in the Park District’s retention ponds by contracting a private company to apply chemicals to ponds and lakes affected by algae growth. The chemical application, though relatively expensive, has been somewhat effective in most cases. In 2003, the Park Board approved an eco-friendly plan to install above water (fountains) and/or below water (bubblers), depending on the square footage and depth of the lake/pond aerators, in each of the District’s retention ponds over a period of years.
The first aerator was installed in Willow Lake in Deerpath Park in late fall 2003 and activated in spring of 2004. A second aerator in the west detention pond at Grosse Pointe Park was installed and activated in the summer of 2004. Three aerators were added to Little Bear Lake in 2007. Over the next few years, aerators are scheduled to be added to other Park District lakes, based on need.
After a reasonable test period, it appears the District was successful in meeting the primary goal of eliminating algae growth. Future success in this area will be monitored on an ongoing basis. Secondary benefits derived from the aerators include improved water quality, healthier fish and, although debated by some, beautiful fountains of water. As an additional benefit, the Park District is no longer adding chemicals to its lakes and ponds, which in the long run is better for the environment.
Normally, aerators will operate during daylight to early evening hours, April through November.