The final stage of work connected with restoring the natural water purity of Lake Gołdap in Warmian-Mazurian Voivodship has been completed. For the second time, 150 tons of bentonite clay was applied to the lake’s water in order to improve its parameters. Gołdap commune commissioned reclamation work to BIOPRO under direct supervision of professor Tomasz Hesse of Koszalin University of Technology, the author of Lake Gołdap protection and reclamation plan.
The way for clean water in the lake
The preparation made from bentonite clay and lanthanum is used for binding the excess amounts of phosphorus in sediments on the bottom. Lanthanum included in bentonite clay together with phosphorus forms, in natural environment, a mineral called rabdofan. This mineral becomes a part of lake’s sediment in a form of a deposit; it does not transform further. Thus, the excess amount of phosphorus is removed from the lake reducing the growth of harmful algae (e.g. blue-green algae).
– It does not mean that the water is going to be crystal clear. The water’s brownish hue will still remain as a result of humic substances being delivered from watershed area into the lake. But, the water will be clean and free from impurities. – says Andrzej Staniszewski Ph.D., Eng. from BIOPRO Sp. z o.o.
A special barge will help to distribute the preparation
In order to carry out this job in a proper manner, a special barge was prepared. It contains the biospecimen that is bentonite clay with lanthanum mixed with lake water that is distributed onto the lake surface through a special porous lance. The mixture is evenly distributed on the whole area of Lake Gołdap. GPS satellite navigation system is key to this process since it monitors the whole operation. The clay that settles on the lake’s bottom combines with phosphate minerals and nitrates creating a layer that covers the detrimental substances being result of metabolic conversion.
– This technology, not so well-known in Poland, is the perfect solution for Lake Gołdap’s reclamation process – says professor Hesse. – We have divided the reclamation process into two clay application phases. In Autumn, lake water mixes, which helps the preparation falling down to the lake bottom to eliminate certain amount of phosphorus. The same phenomenon takes place in spring. That is why it is advisable to divide the whole batch of the preparation into two parts – says the professor.
The method is completely safe for people as well as flora and fauna of the lake
The method devised by Australian and New Zealand scientists has proven to be successful in Canada and Germany. The analysis of actions taken not only proves its effective and dynamic cleaning proprieties of water reservoirs but more importantly is not hazardous to plants and animals living in water.
– The method itself is safe for human beings. The chosen technology should permanently improve the quality of water and the biodiversity of the system. The positive effect of the cleaning operation will be maintained since the commune has taken important and strategic decisions resulting in sorting out its water management. This is the key to success – says Andrzej Staniszewski.
The preparation of reclamation process took over a decade
Over ten years ago the local authorities started their struggle to obtain financing from external sources necessary to reclaim Lake Gołdap. Commune budget could not bear the costs of restoring the natural condition of lake water. The commune, however, managed to gain financing for the preparation of technical documentation.
– We applied for the EU financing several times. Our applications passed only the first phase. Unfortunately, none of the EU programmes at that time envisaged water reservoirs reclamation projects, but only animal protection projects – Jacek Morzy, deputy Mayor of the city of Gołdap told journalists in 2016.
However, members of the local authorities did not give up. They sorted out water and sewage management on their area and modernised the local wastewater treatment plant. Then, in 2015, the commune took part in a competition to win a subsidy from Voivodship Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Olsztyn. The competition required preparing necessary documentation in order to apply for the funds for lake reclamation. Local authorities managed to obtain 12 thousand zlotys, which they doubled with their own budget money. This allowed them to carry out necessary analysis and to draw conclusions.
Eventually, the commune received financing from the European Union budget as part of Regional Operational Programme for Warmian-Mazurian Voivodship for 2014-2020. The subsidy agreement covered 85 per cent of the investment value, which means that Gołdap commune received 3.5 m Polish zlotys financing from the European Union. The total cost of the project amounted to 4.2 m Polish zlotys. The commune’s own contribution was about 700 thousand Polish zlotys.
In October 2016, Gołdap commune obtained a consent from the Marshal of Warmian-Mazurian Voivodship to introduce algae growth prevention substance into Lake Gołdap.
Gołdap – the pride of Warmian-Mazurian Voivodship
Gołdap has now the status of a resort. This is the only resort in Warmian-Mazurian Voivodship. According to environment protection authorities this region has been considered the cleanest in Poland having the best air quality. Natural Therapy Centre was created on the area of 3 thousand square meters, which guarantees free access to rehabilitation and spa procedures. The city of Gołdap itself has also numerous tourist attractions in the vicinity of Masurian Graduation Towers. The region will develop even further with the restoration of crystal clarity of Lake Gołdap water, thus making the city of Gołdap a unique and innovative resort.