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Sep 11, 2019

Aerators Reviving the New River

An expert from the Department of Environmental and Forest Biology at the State University of New York says that the quick-fix solution to the New River crisis may cause more harm than good. Doctor Guy Lanza, says that the use of aerators to oxygenate the New River may cause further sediment disruption and release other toxic elements trapped in the sediments. He warned that the Department of Environment should sample and analyze the sediments before they aerate to get some sense of the danger to the health of the people and the ecosystem. Doctor Lanza says that there is a lot of hydrogen sulfide built up in the sediment due to the eutrophication process that has been accelerated by pollution. The aerators they plan to use could stir up the sediments and release the toxic hydrogen sulfide gas – but not just to the air. The hydrogen sulfide will first be released to the water and then on to the air. But Doctor Ed Bols, an aquatic ecologist who has been studying the waters of Belize for three decades says that the use of aerators is the best, immediate solution to deal with the New River crisis.

 

Dr. Ed Boles, Aquatic Ecologist

Dr. Ed Boles

“It seems like it may be working and if it is they are going to expand it. However, it is the immediate solution in the toolbox right now. There could be a little bit sediment disturbances depending how deep the water is. There might be a bit of an initial rise in the gas concentration when the paddles are first cranked up. But that should al subside if it actually doing it works and it seems that it is pumping a lot of oxygen back in the water.  It is acting a lot like a rapid in a river. A rapid does the same thing; it oxygenates the water. A lot of the organisms that are going to be affected probably already have been. When the rains start that would be a lot of disturbance n the sediment then as well. That is a natural event that we can’t control. That will probably have an impact. There is no quick fix; it is a long term fix. The problem is that we have abusing our river for far too long. Unless we change our ways we are going to see more of this and it is going to become more intense.”


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