Lagoon fountain battles pollution

By Rebecca Keener

A fountain has been built in the east lagoon to better wildlife at NIU.

The fountain was built to keep algae from forming on the east lagoon so the fish there can breathe easier, said NIU President John La Tourette.

The recently built fountain will cost an estimated $8,000.

The fountain was turned on last Friday, and it will run every day from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

It shoots water six feet in the air with a 44-foot diameter, acting as an aerator for the lagoon.

“The fountain will make the lagoon a more habitable environment for everything that lives there,” said James Bryant, manager of administrative services and superintendence. “The lagoon has become stagnant.”

La Tourette said, “The lagoon used to be an eyesore until the 1930s when it was dredged to hold more water.”

“Because of the pollution in the lagoon, something had to be done or the lagoon would have become a very large project in a short period of time,” he said.

Bryant also feels that the estimated $8,000 to build the fountain was a better financial option than draining and dredging the lagoon.

“The price tag for draining and dredging the lagoon was estimated at about $1,000,000,” Bryant said.

The ducks that habituate the lagoon might be a little leery of the fountain at first and run off, but Bryant said that the fountain is no more damaging to the ducks than a hard rain.

Beside the estimated cost to build the fountain, it also will cost the university $2 a day to run the fountain, said Atique Ahmed, the mechanical engineer for Architectural/Engineering Services.

The money to build the fountain came from funds for remodeling the Physical Plant.

Originally, La Tourette wanted three fountains built, but the cost was estimated at $22,000 which was too expensive, said Bryant.

This project is an experiment and the cost is minimal compared to what needs to be done in the future, adds La Tourette.