River Alliance has compiled a series on how phosphorus pollution harms small business owners.
“People keeping boats at my marina used to call up prior to coming out here and ask whether or not an algae bloom was on. Now, they call and ask me how bad the algae is. There used to be a waiting list to get a slip in my marina. Now it’s tough to get it half full,” said Tom.
Tom owns a bar and grille and a marina on Lake Petenwell, which is the site of frequent toxic blue-green algae blooms every summer. The primary cause is runoff from upstream agriculture. In the peak of summer, the mat of algae on the bay can get six inches thick and the nauseating stench settles over the area like a fog.
“Without the green on the water, there would be twice as many property owners on the lake. People are disappointed; others don’t come out here at all because of it. It’s an enormous amount of money that’s lost.”
He estimates the costs as follows:
- • $20,000 to install a culvert and aerator to pump algae from the marina to the lake
- • $1,200 in annual electricity costs for aerator
- • $800 lost annually per empty boat slip
- • $200 lost per cancelled boat reservation
- • $100 lost in food and drinks per cancelled boat reservation
- • $50 lost in gas and oil per cancelled boat reservation
- • $1,000s lost for past algae removal efforts