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Colorado town installs solar buoys to combat blue-green algae in Windsor Lake

Colorado town spending thousands to combat blue-green algae at beaches
Colorado town spending thousands to combat blue-green algae at beaches 02:54

The Town of Windsor, one of northern Colorado's most rapidly growing communities, is looking to end a trend of toxic algae blooming in their lake. The town has purchased four solar LG sonic buoys to combat the issue the town has experienced four out of the last five years. 

When the algae blooms during summer months, the town is forced to close access to the water for human and wildlife safety. 

"Our residents have paid a lot of money to build this fabulous park. It is the jewel of our system. When it closes it impacts a lot of people," said Eric Lucas, deputy town manager for Windsor. 


The town has installed four buoys in Lake Windsor. They cost taxpayers more than $250,000 to purchase and install. 

"They're checking the water quality and telling us when algae blooms are going to occur," Lucas said. 

A team in the Netherlands is monitoring the data being shared by the buoys. That team can then see when things like chlorophyll levels are on the rise. That results in surfacing and sun exposure which then can lead to blue green algae.  

If the systems notice increased levels a sound wave is sent through the water to help physically push the buildup back to the bottom of the lake and away from sunlight. 

"(The waves) capture them, sink them to the bottom and not allow them to go to the surface where they collect sunlight and create algae blooms in the middle of summer," Lucas told CBS News Colorado's Dillon Thomas

Windsor Lake is non-potable water, meaning it is not used for drinking water, but rather things like irrigation. 

"I think it is very important for the town. We are focused on the environment and downstream impacts," Lucas said. "Focused on those pieces as well to improve the water quality throughout Windsor and also downstream."


Lucas said the technology is widely used across Europe and is also being used in some other Colorado bodies of water. He said the devices are environmentally safe. 

"It doesn't harm people, fish or wildlife. It really is the perfect moment for us to attack blue green water algae without harming anything else," Lucas said. 

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