SolarBees buzzing in reservoir

Last week's installation of two SolarBees at Reeder Reservoir could mean better smelling and tasting water for Ashlanders.

Pieter Smeenk, associate engineer for Ashland Public Works Department, said the solar-powered circulators are a non-toxic method the city hopes will help eliminate algae blooms that caused less than desirable water last summer and fall.

The two bees, which pump water from the lower depths of Reeder Reservoir to the surface, cost $29,000 to install and test for the next three months. Smeenk said if the experiment proves effective, the city will pay $73,000 more to purchase both.

"We are also adjusting several operational processes in the plant, which will improve our ability to treat the water," Smeenk said. "But if the combination of changes does not remedy the problem, the next most likely solution is an ozone treatment, which is substantially more costly."

The bees are designed to last 25 years.

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