The New Threat to Small Town America: Toxic Algae Blooms

The New Threat to Small Town America: Toxic Algae Blooms



*Septic tanks, agricultural runoff and a warming climate have accelerated harmful algal blooms 5x, but a high-tech, chemical-free solution from Dutch company LG Sonic could save small towns millions of dollars*

*SCRANTON, PA / ACCESSWIRE / September 28, 2022 / *American small towns have a tradition of adopting mascots. They serve as a rally point, a bit of community identity and spirit of the times. In the new Era of Climate Change, it makes perfect sense that the small town of Berthoud, CO, population 10,000, would hold a contest to name its new high-tech algae mitigation buoy produced by Dutch company LG Sonic. The votes were tallied, and their weather-impervious, solar-powered, sensor-rich, AI-controlled ultrasonic sentinel guarding the town's drinking water supply 24/7 is now known as... "David Buoy."

"It's an impressive feat of engineering that one little, self-contained buoy can make such a big impact on the quality of the drinking water for a whole town," said Ken Matthews, Director of Water Utilities for the Town of Berthoud.

Every year, harmful algal blooms (HAB) cause extensive deaths to wildlife and pets unfortunate enough to drink the water, along with respiratory problems, skin issues and potential permanent liver damage in humans. HAB's have been implicated in long-term neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, ALS and Multiple Sclerosis. Globally, HAB's contaminate the drinking water for millions of people every year, and they have increased 5x since 2013. Harmful algal blooms are triggered by warm weather and an overabundance of nutrients entering the water, which for small towns typically means fertilizer runoff from the farmlands around them or leaky septic systems which would require millions of dollars in new sewer construction to remedy. The rapidly emerging problem was recently examined in the New Republic with the descriptive headline, "Lakeside Vacation Towns Have a Controversial Poop Problem."

Even the band-aid solutions to an ongoing bloom can be a financial burden for small towns. For years, algae mitigation has primarily been done using chemicals, typically copper sulfate, which besides being a costly and continuous endeavor also kills a vast array of aquatic life along with the algae such as fish, frogs and snails. Overuse of copper sulfate can create an accumulation of toxins so high that a lake or pond's sediment qualifies as hazardous waste requiring additional expenses to contain and dispose of.

In contrast, an LG Sonic MPC-Buoy is completely safe for the environment, as proven by a two-year study undertaken by the Dutch government. And after 10 years and more than 10,000 installations in 59 countries, real-life use has shown that an LG Sonic MPC-Buoy such as the one purchased by Berthoud actually pays for itself within 18 months in chemical savings, a huge consideration for cash-strapped small towns. As an infrastructure project, Berthoud was able to pay for the $60,000 buoy largely with funds from the American Rescue Plan Act and Larimer County.

For the City of Archie, MO (pop. 1,170), the 2021 installation of LG Sonic MPC-Buoy finally ended the algae and other quality control problems that had plagued the city reservoir for decades.

"Because of this technology, we're finally going to be able to do something that hasn't been done in 40 years and that is to get these [levels] under such control that the state has been wondering if I'm cheating on my lab tests, which we are not. It seems like finally, Missouri DNR (Dept. of Natural Resources) is happy with the City of Archie, so I'm kind of excited," said Rick Blundell, Water Superintendent, for the City of Archie.

Blundell explained the reasons for their ongoing problems, which are typical for an agricultural community: "We have to treat out the Grand River, which is where we pull our water from, lined the next 30-40 miles with crop fields. And every spring, they spray chemicals on their plants. When we get rain, it washes into the Grand River. So, the river, at times, is so green that you'd think somebody painted the water. It's so nutrient-rich and we pull that water and put it in our impoundment."

The stories of HAB exposure can be heartbreaking. In 2021, a Missouri family's 100 lb. Golden Retriever died less than 10 hours after drinking crystal clear-looking lake water while the humans themselves who swam in the water endured gastrointestinal issues, muscle aches and vomiting - and ultimately severe, permanent liver damage. The next day, the previously-clear lake looked like it was coated in neon green paint. In this particular case, an LG Sonic MPC-Buoy (Monitor, Predict, Control) would have warned authorities about the presence of blue-green algae in the water days before visual evidence became apparent - and likely would have stopped the bloom from ever developing unlike other algae mitigation strategies which are only a reactive response to existing blooms.


Founded in 2011, LG Sonic's unique approach to ultrasound technology has been proven successful in more than 10,000 deployments throughout 59 countries, where they've protected drinking water reservoirs, industrial cooling ponds, recreational fishing lakes, and irrigation systems. The company even holds the record for the world's largest ultrasonic algae mitigation project at the Dominican Republic's 1,739 acre Valdesia Reservoir, primary source of drinking water for the two million residents of the country's capital, Santo Domingo. Its installations in the United States include numerous projects with American Water, the country's largest and most geographically diverse publicly traded drinking water and wastewater utility company.


Matt Kalinowski
LG Sonic Publicity
(503) 333-2049

*SOURCE: *LG Sonic
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