Joseph J. Bufalini: Was Medora contract reviewed?

February 10, 2014 

The Feb. 5 news article “Cleanup effort endorsed” stated that DENR Secretary John Skvarla is awarding a $1.44 million contract to Medora Corp. for 36 solar-powered machines to remove or reduce algae growth in Jordan Lake. He further stated that this will be cheaper than limiting pollutants from entering the lake.

I’m concerned that these machines will have almost no effect on the concentration of pollutants entering the lake. Aeration oxidizes some pollutants but doesn’t remove them. It may reduce the algae, but the lake will remain contaminated if pollutants are allowed to enter the lake. Skvarla stated further that these machines were used in Texas with success, but little information is given on the size of the lake and how many machines were used. Also, were there any measurements made of the pollutants in the lake before and after the machines were used? This would determine the effectiveness of their use and is a basic scientific procedure.

At the EPA we always had our contracts and grants peer reviewed by outside scientists before awarding them. Was this done before awarding $1.44 million?

Joseph J. Bufalini

Former head, Gas Kinetics and Photochemistry Branch, EPA


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