Simply Science: Plastic islands in Mpls lake

7:49 PM, Aug 18, 2011   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - By all appearances, Spring Lake, located near I-394 in the Lowry Hill neighborhood, is anything but a lake.

"It actually is an actual lake," explained landscape architect Craig Wilson. "[Spring Lake] is 32 feet deep in its deepest spot. It looks swampy right now because of all of the stuff on top of the lake because the water quality is so bad."

It's the water quality a group of landscape architects and environmentalists plan to improve through a 21st century solution.

Right now the lake receives all of the runoff from the neighborhood and nearby roads. So much stuff dumps into the water, the lake isn't able to maintain itself and stay clean, so Spring Lake is getting a little help from seven manmade islands.

"We're actually taking bottles that people would put in their recycling buckets at home and this is the end result of their recycling efforts," said Ted Gattino of Blue Wing Environmental Solutions.

Using broken down recycled bottles, the islands are filled with plants and float on top of the lake. The islands give plants and animals an ideal place to live on top of the water, while the material below the islands helps to breakdown pollutants and clean the lake.

"We're dealing with the top layers of the lake right now, try to improve that water quality first and we're looking at other technologies in the future to improve the lower levels of the lake," Wilson added.

The islands will be permanent fixtures. It will likely take a year or two before the water quality shows improvement. The end result will be fewer algae, better water clarity and a return to what a lake should look like.


(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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