Monday, April 25, 2011

Great news for the Charles River!

The last couple of years I have learned more about algae in the Charles River than I really wanted.  While the Charles River has been getting dramatically cleaner over the past 10 to 15 years, in the last few years we have witnessed problems with algae blooms which raised concerns about human contact with the water. The algae can produce toxic stuff which may (NOTE THE WORD MAY) not be so great to come in contact with and certainly not to  ingest.   The science is incomplete and therefore lends itself to many, often conflicting, conclusions.  Simply put, add the right mix of nutrients in the water (I suspect we may want to have a word with the folks upstream who apply fertilizer to their lawns),  add sunlight, warm it up and algae has a feast. To be fair this algae may be responsible for giving our planet oxygen. For that I will always be grateful.  But all things in their proper time and place I say. At the risk of being one more NIMBY person, I say go make your oxygen somewhere else. 

So here is some great news.  Power plants create a lot of heat and have to constantly cool things down.  The Kendall power station in Cambridge is no different. As I understand it  in the past they would use river water to cool things off and then when done return it to the river. However, it would still be kind of warm, maybe 100 degrees Fahrenheit +/-.  So the really good news is that they are implementing new technology that will reduce the amount of  warm water returning by 95%....95%!!  That's a lot a percent.  Here is the link to the article about this great development for all of us who play on the Charles River.

Charlie

  http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/02/02/power_plant_plan_to_cut_discharge_send_heat_to_boston/?page=1

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