IV. Lake Filtration:
Lake water filtration is a key component to reigning in the current pollution levels that affect Lake Champlain at this present point in time. The Lake Champlain covers approximately 8,234 square miles. (Berry, 2007), and it is important to prevent as much pollution as is conceivable. Filtration is simply the a process designed to separate liquids from solids, or liquids from gases by creating a strainer that only allows liquids to pass through. The goal of water filtration is to establish clean drinking water for human consumption, as well as too create good quality habitats for species that depend on Lake Champlain. Water filtration can be achieved by human intervention or naturalized interventions. The simplest way to prevent water contamination is to prevent pollutants from entering water sources. One way to increase water quality is to filter it before it arrives in the lake by establishing buffer zones around streams, river, and other systems that create water flow. Wetlands are very efficient at achieving that effect, and some wetlands are shown the ability to reduce nitrate levels by 80%. ( Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Wetlands and Water Synthesis, 2005). One concern for filtration is the presence of microorganisms. Microorganisms are Microorganisms are vital for nutrient recycling in ecosystems because they act as decomposers. Some microorganisms can fix nitrogen, and they are an essential part of the nitrogen cycle. According to recent studies indicate that airborne microbes may play a role in precipitation and weather. ( Christner, 2008) Another use of microorganisms is bioaugmentation. Bioaugmentation is used to treat water contaminated by industrial, biological, or sewage waste. (Gray, 2004) Microorganisms also transform nitrogen into ammonia which is then converted into oxygen that is released into the environment. Another benefit of microorganisms is they can be used for water filtration through a process known as Bioremediation. This is the process that uses microorganisms, such as, fungi, green plants or their enzymes to return the natural environment altered by contaminants to its original condition. (Meagher, 2000) However, as important as microorganisms are an overabundance has tremendous negative effects on water quality, because while nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen are essential need to the environment to much nutrient production is detrimental. An overabundance of nutrients can lead to eutrophication, which is “an increase in the concentration of chemical nutrients in an ecosystem to an extent that increases the primary productivity of the ecosystem. Euthrophication in turn can lead to the overgrowth of weeds, algae, and cyanobacteria. This may cause an increase in algae bloom. The algae numbers are then unsustainable for a while before eventually most of the algae die off. However, the decomposition of the algae by bacteria absorbs so much of oxygen in the water that most, or all of the animals die, which creates more organic matter for the bacteria to decompose. (Walker, 1976) Algae bloom is a current problem that Lake Champlain is facing today.
· Gray, N.F. (2004). Biology of Wastewater Treatement . Imperial College Press. p. 1164. ISBN 1-860-94332-2.
· Meagher, RB (2000). “Phytoremediation of toxic elemental and organic pollutants”. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 3 (2): 153-162. doi: 10.1016/S1369-5266(99)00054-0.PMID 10712958.
· Walker, James D. and Welles Products Corporation (1976). “Tower for removing odors from gases.” U.S. Patent No. 4421534.
· Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Wetlands and Water Synthesis. (2005). In Millenium Ecosystem Assessment. Retrieved from http://www.millenniumassessment.org/documents/document.358.aspx.pdf
· Berry, Tom. Conserving Lake Champlain’s Biological Diversity. Nature Conservancy. Retrieved from http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/vermont/files/lake_champlain_biodiversity_report.pdf.
· Christner BC, Morris CE, Foreman CM, Cai R, Sands DC (2008). “Ubiquity of biological ice nucleators in snowfall”. Science 319 (5867): 1214. doi:10.1126/science.1149757. PMID 18309078.