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Lake Mitchell SolarBee's future uncertain

The fate of Lake Mitchell's SolarBee is up in the air. The Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee tabled a decision regarding the future of the algae-reduction tool that anchors itself to the bottom of the lake and circulates water to obstruct algal bl...

The fate of Lake Mitchell's SolarBee is up in the air.

The Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee tabled a decision regarding the future of the algae-reduction tool that anchors itself to the bottom of the lake and circulates water to obstruct algal blooms.

The decision to table the discussion on the SolarBee came after Mayor Jerry Toomey said the city is still waiting to hear potential lake cleanup cost estimates from Omaha-based Fyra Engineering. Because Fyra Engineering, which could be tasked with the cleanup project, has yet to make any recommendations about the lake, the committee determined it would be prudent to wait.

At the meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Dusty Rodiek shared water clarity data with the board, data which notes the lake's west end as the worst area. The west side of Lake Mitchell also happens to be where the Firesteel Creek drains into the lake.

With those clarity results, board member Dave Allen suggested potentially retaining the SolarBee for another year and moving it to the west end of the lake for more testing. The SolarBee was used in 2015 at the south end of the lake from May to October.

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Toomey asked Allen why the city should keep the device if it is not effective, to which Allen asked what the city would achieve by taking it out before doing more studies.

With Fyra's recommendations remaining an uncertainty, the board will not decide until at least January whether to keep or sell the SolarBee, which Toomey valued at $25,000. When purchased in 2010, the SolarBee cost the city $27,000.

Related Topics: LAKE MITCHELL
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