Apr 09, 2007

Fungi Used to Stop Pollution in Idaho Lake

Mushrooms are being used in Sandpoint, Idaho, to capture hydrocarbons and other pollutants that would otherwise end up in Lake Pend Oreille at the Memorial Field boat launch.

According to the Bonner County Daily Bee, this new project replaces the hard-pack gravel shoulder next to the launch ramp with a series of descending basins designed to filter out pollutants before they enter the water.

Prior to this new system, storm water would pour over the gravel into the lake. The water would also splash over the parking lot and wash into the lake, bringing with it oil and hydrocarbons.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports that the project aims to route storm water runoff through the basins. The top six basins are filled layers of wood chips inoculated with phoenix fir oyster mushrooms and the bottom three basins contain layers of pearl oyster mushrooms.

Scott Daily, a certified permaculturist, designed the project. Daily reports that fungi have been shown to break down pollutants.

A grate will also be installed perpendicularly on the launch ramp to catch storm water and feed it to the basins.

The city of Sandpoint's Public Works and Parks & Recreation departments provided the site. Bonner Soil & Water Conservation District, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Tri-State Water Quality Council worked together to bring the project to life.