Honeoye Valley Association

Honeoye Lake Alum Project

Honeoye Lake Alum Project   

Following an intense algae blooms during the summer of 2002 the HVA formed a Water Quality Committee to investigate what lake management techniques could be employed to improve the lake water quality for recreational use.  The committee held its first public meeting on November 20, 2002 to inform and educate the public on what can be done and to obtain public input.  Princeton Hydro, a lake management firm, was hired by the HVA to evaluate the lake water quality, using data collected over the past 20 years, and make a recommendation on possible environmentally sound remediation techniques that could be employed to improve the recreational use of the lake. A second public meeting was held on April 10, 2003 where Dr. Steve Souza of Princeton Hydro presented these results. 

The recommendation of Princeton Hydro’s study was to use an alum treatment of the lake to prevent phosphorus release from the bottom sediment which should reduce the severity of algae blooms and to increase weed harvesting to control excessive weed growth. The results of this study were documented in a report: Lake Restoration Plan. 

The efforts of the HVA Water Quality Committee to implement the alum application were transferred to an Alum Committee under the auspices of the Honeoye Lake Watershed Taskforce (HLWTF). In addition to the members of the HVA Water Quality Committee the Alum Committee included Dr. Souza, Dr. Gilman, Ontario County Planning Department, Department of Environmental Conservation, and a representatives from the town boards of Canadice and Richmond.

Some of the features and objectives of the alum project were as follows:

  • ·         Alum controls the internal recycling of  phosphorus from lake bottom sediment
  • ·         Alum will reduce significant algae blooms by reducing internal phosphorus release
  • ·         Alum will only be applied to the deep-water portions of the lake greater than 18 feet deep which is approximately 800 acres
  • ·         Alum when properly applied, will not adversely impact the fish or animal life within the lake
  • Once the alum has settled to the bottom in the deep-water areas, it will not affect water uses
  • Alum has been used in many lakes in the Northeast, including Irondequoit Bay in the 1980’s, to successfully control algae
  • The treatment is expected to last a minimum of 5 years and could last  10-15 years
  • Alum will not reduce in-lake rooted vegetation
  • Alum application will be done over several days by a professional applicator using GPS equipment and a specially equipped barge to assure precise injection of the liquid alum beneath the surface in the treated area
  • Towns of Canadice and Richmond will pay for alum application
  • Alum Project subject to State Environment Quality Review (SEQR)
  •  The Proposed Alum Treatment Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was completed on February 8, 2006 by the Ontario County Planning Department, acting as the Lead Agency. It issued its findings on March 3, 2006.  
  • The NYS- DEC issued a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) Discharge Permit on May 10, 2006 which sets application and monitoring requirements and is required for an alum application
  • The alum application was scheduled to start June 26, 2006 by Sweetwater Division of the TeeMark Corporation but due to an engine failure with the application barge, the application was delayed and done from September 15-23, 2006.
  • Subsequent to the September 2006 application it was determined that there was an error in the amount of alum applied, which required approximately 20% more alum to be applied.
  • It was hoped that Sweetwater would return in the spring of 2007 to complete the alum application but the DEC  determined that they must publish a new public notice followed by a 30 day comment period before the modification to the County’s existing permit can be finalized and the application begin. As a result the additional alum treatment was put off until mid September 2007.  
  • The alum application was completed on September 20, 2007, concluding a project that took five years.



To see a Pre and Post Alum Treatment click here

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