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Campus readied for new academic year

by Sherry Fisher - August 25, 2008


As students gear up for classes, UConn’s landscaping group and contractors have been sprucing up the campus for their return.

Beautification and maintenance projects have included clean-up work on Mirror Lake, in the center of campus, and Swan Lake, near the Chemistry Building on North Eagleville Road.

The University has been trimming and pruning trees and plants on the island in Mirror Lake, and has removed dead and diseased trees and underbrush.

Colorful rhododendrons and mountain laurel will be planted there later this fall.

The lake, which in the past has been treated with copper sulfate for algae and is now host to invasive plants, was recently cleaned using a new technology. A different treatment was needed because the copper sulfate became less effective over time, says Thomas Callahan, associate vice president for operations. The work was done by All Habitat Inc.

Callahan describes the technology as the equivalent of an “underwater lawnmower” that cuts weeds off at the lake’s bottom. It then sucks the water, weeds, and algae through a vacuum pump and deposits it elsewhere – in this case, on the west side of the lake.

Silt fences hold the residue so it doesn’t wash back out, and water filters through the silt fence back into the lake. The residue that remains dries relatively quickly, and can be moved into dumpsters.

Callahan says the process is an interim solution to cleaning up the algae and invasive plants. Other alternatives that provide long-term solutions are under discussion.

Swan Lake had been shrouded by an infestation of an invasive plant called phragmytes. The plant, which can grow to between 12 and 15 feet, had taken over the east side of the lake, and moved to the south side. The plants were cut down at the water line and removed as a short-term solution.

Callahan says the work around Swan Lake and the Chemistry Building is intended to add to the aesthetics of the campus.

Workers from All Habitat Inc. clean the bottom of Mirror Lake.
Workers from All Habitat Inc. clean the bottom of Mirror Lake.
Photo by Peter Morenus


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