WASHINGTON — The Quasar Energy Group will receive a $1 million grant through the USDA to demonstrate the effectiveness of anaerobic digesters to process and manage livestock waste in the Grand Lake St. Mary’s watershed, in Mercer and Auglaize counties.
Quasar received one of the 52 Conservation Innovation Grants awarded Aug. 22 through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Grant winners pay 50 percent of project costs.
“Not only will this help clean up the lake, it will also help create jobs in the clean energy industry,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, who pushed for the Quasar grant application to be approved.
“This project will serve as a national model for an innovative solution to clean up toxic algae blooms creating jobs and provide consumers with a source of clean, domestic energy,” Brown said.
Recent studies on Grand Lake St. Marys have shown that excess phosphorus loading of the lake has been the primary reason for toxic algae blooms during the past two summers.
“With the CIG grant, we will be working to make the situation better by creating a portable technology to separate nutrients and remove them from the watershed,” said Mel Kurtz, president of Quasar Energy Group in a statement issued by Brown’s office.
He said the project will demonstrate a technology “that will benefit every farmer and every waste water treatment plant that is struggling with a nutrient management issue.”
Eight of the approved grants support development of conservation innovations in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and another eight, including the Quasar grant, focus on the Mississippi River Basin.
One of the other grants will also be used in Ohio. The American Chestnut Foundation received $541,136 to demonstrate the use of chestnut trees and other hardwoods to reclaim land on mining sites in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
In the Chesapeake watershed, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation received $848,424 to help farmers in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia convert manure to energy to generate income and improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.
A summary of all grant proposals is available at www.nrcs.usda.gov.