WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Wastewater treatment plants along tributaries of the Gulf of Mexico, which includes the Wabash River, are taking action to limit the amount of phosphorous seeping into the gulf, according to The Journal and Courier.

A $76,000 contract was approved by the West Lafayette Board of Works to design the tanks and water handling system to lower the city’s discharge from 4 parts per million to 1, stated the article.

Wastewater Treatment Plant director Dave Henderson said the plant has to meet its limits by March 2016, which means the tank, pipes and chemical pumps have to constructed and online by 2015.

“Phosphorus and nitrogen runoff from farmland and coming out of wastewater outfall pipes create an excess of nutrients in the receiving waters of the Wabash, the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico,” Henderson explained. “Too much of a good thing — nutrients that are needed for life — cause an overgrowth of algae. Algae blooms; algae dies; the degrading of that dead algae sucks the oxygen out of the water. Bad for fish and other things that live in the streams.”

The entire project is expected to cost around $2 million, noted the article.

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