City engineers teamed with the golf course maintenance staff at Meadow Lakes GC to harness windmill technology and get Meadow Lakes smelling sweet again.
Golfers at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Prineville, Ore., are enjoying their rounds much more, now that unpleasant odors emanating from some of the course’s ten ponds have disappeared, the Bend (Ore.) Bulletinreports. The problem at Meadow Lakes, which is on property that doubles as the city’s wastewater disposal facility, had been getting progressively worse since the course opened 19 years ago. The rotten-egg smell was especially bad when frozen ponds thawed, releasing gas that had been trapped under ice, as well as in summer when algae blooms fed off the warm water.
Despite the dual-use nature of the property, wastewater in the ponds was not the main issue, reports Eric Klann, Prineville’s city engineer. Instead, the source of the odor was typical of what occurs in many lakes and ponds: stagnant water combined with rotting organic material, such as leaves and wayward divots.
Many courses deal with those problems by using water features such as fountains. But Meadow Lakes had no power running to its ponds. “By not aerating, natural-occurring bacteria just can’t break down that material,” Klann notes. “So that organic burden on the bottom of the pond just keeps increasing and increasing.”
But solving the problem proved to be a breeze, after the city’s engineers teamed with the golf course maintenance staff to harness windmill technology and get Meadow Lakes smelling sweet again. Windmills that are 24 feet high are now used to aerate the ponds, in a process similar to the bubble-creating pumps commonly used in fish tanks.
The windmills on the edge of the golf course’s ponds capture breezes that power small pumps at the top of their structures. The pumps force oxygen down tubes into diffusers (two or three from each windmill, depending on the size of the pond), which are placed on the bottom of each pond. At the point where it enters the pond, the air travels through a porous stone that turns large air bubbles into thousands of tiny air bubbles, creating more surface area to diffuse oxygen.
At a cost of about $3,000, Meadow Lakes installed its first windmill in April 2010. Now the course has three windmills installed, with two more set for this spring.
The windmills’ only regular maintenance is during winter, to load tanks attached to each windmill with alcohol and keep the lines from freezing. There are no power costs, says Steve Reynolds, course Superintendent.
The course actually got confirmation it had found the right solution in rather unpleasant fashion, when odor did return recently near a windmill-aided pond on its 10th hole. An investigation showed that an air line from the windmill had clogged.