New tool deployed at Mohegan Lake is fighting blue-green algae

News 12 visited one of two sheds surrounding the lake in Yorktown where an aeration system is hard at work pumping oxygen into the body water.

Nadia Galindo

Aug 1, 2023, 9:49 PM

Updated 295 days ago

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Every summer, blue-green algae causes lakes to close to swimmers across the Hudson Valley, but the community surrounding Mohegan Lake has deployed a new tool to fight the potentially toxic algae blooms.
News 12 visited one of two sheds surrounding the lake in Yorktown where an aeration system is hard at work pumping oxygen into the body water.
"We had the aeration system installed basically to stop the phosphorus cycle. In the summer, phosphorus is released from the sediment at the lake bottom and feeds blue-green algae blooms," said Ken Belfer, president of the Mohegan Lake Improvement District.
The blooms often happen in the heat of the summer and prompt the state to shutdown beaches at lakes.
"In 2022, we were closed June 28 through July 13 and then for a couple week periods in August – so right in the midst of the swimming season," said Belfer.
This aeration system was installed in late June and has 10 miles of air tube connecting 43 diffusers.
So far this summer, all beaches on Mohegan Lake have stayed open, but Belfer warns the science is still out on whether that’s because of the new system.
Belfer is collaborating with the State University of New York to study oxygen levels and blue-green algae in the lake before and after the new aeration system was installed.
Belfer uses a device to measure oxygen at different depths within the lake weekly and the latest data shows improved levels.
"Now it’s oxygenated all the way down to 18 feet and it’s really exciting to see that," Belfer said.
As the study continues officials hope the equipment proves to be a safe way to keep beaches open.
"It’s preserving a natural resource right here in our town and this town we are all about progress with preservation," said Yorktown Town Supervisor Tom Diana.
While the aeration system was turned on this year in late June, Next year it will run from April through October.


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