Alum barges are criss crossing Grand Lake St. Marys, adding chemicals to the lake in an effort to reduce toxic algae blooms and improve water quality.
The lake-wide treatment began a week ago, and this dose of alum is breaking records.
"We're getting the largest alum application ever which makes last year's the second largest treatment ever done in the world," said Brian Miller, Grand Lake St. Marys State Park.
For the second year in a row, water quality specialists from HAB Aquatic Solutions are working to control toxic algae blooms on the lake. The blooms led to health advisories and warnings at the tourist destination. Those applying the aluminum sulfate mixture, also known as alum, say they adapted their process after last year's treatment.
"We made some changes to our equipment to improve its efficiency and its capacity. One of the biggest changes people might notice is we're now going to operate from two different sites during this application," said John Holz, HAB water quality specialist.
The dose is also higher this year, but it remains below the maximum amount calculated for the lake.
"The alum is safe. It's non-toxic to aquatic organisms. It's not harmful to lake invertebrates or fish, waterfowl-- anything like that," said Holz.
The chemical actually doesn't directly kill algae either. Instead it robs the algae of its favorite food--phosphorous.
Officials hope the early treatment will lead to an advisory free lake this summer.
"They're averaging about 10 loads of alum a day. So, they're on schedule. The last couple of days have been rough with the wind, so it has shortened up their ability to work, but we're still looking to get this job completed hopefully yet within this month," said Miller.
Even with the choppy water, the barges have been out on the lake every day except Easter Sunday.
HAB officials say the algae problem is not unique to Grand Lake. Company representatives have traveled all over the United States and even to China studying polluted lakes.