2002-11-02 / Columnists

Sprayview Sticks and Stones

By Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

By Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

There are experts who might say that just because the water looks like it can be walked on doesn’t mean prized fish didn’t lurk in the murk!

And in fact watercolor from dissolved organic compounds, organic or inorganic particles, microscopic plants and animals (plankton), and coarser leaf matter, etc. can increase the number of fish for the table in a water body like Jamaica Bay.

The downside is the decay of an algal plankton bloom or other organic material. Oxygen is used up and poisonous compounds are released. Water bodies are called entrophic when this happens due to the fertility.

The sewage treatment plants around the bay provide this excessive fertilization because the number of people and the insufficient treatment for removal.

Thus the needed gizmo installation as explained in a previous column. But a more graphic presentation of the fertility problem is the chlorophyll ‘a’ concentrates.

This colored compound (pigment) builds up where the fertilization impact produces algal blooms (microscopic algae) that decay and produce ammonia and low oxygen problems.

Since dissolved oxygen doesn’t travel a great distance bottom water low oxygen is a problem and wind at least mixes up the layers to oxygenate the waters.

The NYC Department of Environmental Protection monitors the problem and has pointed out that Jamaica Bay has the worst chlorophyll ‘a’ problem.


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