The results are in — and the Town of Bolton’s first-of-its-kind demonstration project using Adirondack woodchips to protect Lake George from algae-causing nitrate has proven successful.
A 27-month monitoring study conducted by the Lake George Association (LGA), Lake George Waterkeeper, and the Town of Bolton, with a grant from Lake Champlain Sea Grant, found that the town’s woodchip bioreactor removed 38% of nitrate from the wastewater that flowed through it during the project compared to zero removal of nitrate from the rest of the plant’s effluent stream. This is believed to be the world’s first use of a woodchip bioreactor at a municipal wastewater treatment plant. The bioreactor was funded in 2018 by a $50,000 grant from The FUND for Lake George (now the LGA).
“Over the past two years, our study demonstrated conclusively that the woodchip bioreactor is an effective, affordable and environmentally compatible nitrate-reduction tool for smaller municipal treatment plants like Bolton’s that were constructed decades ago, prior to the advent of denitrification technology,” said Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky, who conducted the study along with water quality scientist and LGA Science Advisor Dr. Jim Sutherland.
Photo from Cat Mountain/Almanack archive