Featured Project: An aeration system and fountain revives a beloved lake in Sterling, Kansas

  • September 17, 2018

Located in the heartland of Kansas is a beautiful oasis of a city called Sterling. Founded in 1876, Sterling was named after Sterling Rosan by his two sons. We recently visited the unveiling of our aerators and fountains at the 10-acre recreational lake surrounded by a city park and campground.

In 2014, Sterling lake had a devastating fish kill. City officials contacted the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and begin restoration of the lake. Officials installed a diffused aeration system to improve oxygen levels and water quality within the lake. Some fish were re-stocked to begin rebuilding the fish population of the lake.

In 2018, the city received a grant from the Community Fisheries Assistance Program through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to improve the water quality and fishery of the lake. The City Manager, Mr. Taggart Wall contacted Air-O-Lator experts for assistance in providing the proper aeration equipment and sizing of the 10-acre lake built by the WPA in 1934.

“Working one-on-one with Air-O-Lator was a great process,” City Manager Taggart Wall said. “From the first phone call to the final product in the water, Roy and his team were knowledgeable, easy to work with, and responsive. Perhaps the greatest quality was the ability for Roy to speak reasonably. He understood the value of our resources and worked on a plan that would both produce results and be reasonable in pricing.”

The project included improvements to the aeration system and the addition of three aerators and a Carnival fountain with lights for improving oxygen levels mixing and overall a complete aeration system to improve and sustain water quality. This combination allows for the water in the lake to be turned around within the water column, providing higher oxygen levels for fish and promoting stable nutrient levels.

“We needed a project that was functional first and aesthetically pleasing second,” Wall said. “The subsurface system and the Aqua Pro installations allowed us to maximize our functional pragmatic needs balanced against the Carnival which provided the picture perfect result so many had hoped for.”

The aerators and fountains were installed in May 2018. On August 20th, the city of Sterling had a ribbon cutting for the completion of the Sterling Lake aeration enhancement project.

“I am very honored to be invited to the ceremony as well as being impressed with the cities commitment to providing a quality fishery,” said Air-O-Lator CEO Roy Watkins. “The city and the KDWPT did it right. By installing a subsurface aeration system and surface aerators, they provide a sustainable quality water resource for the City of Sterling to enjoy for many years.”

Above all, this project was about creating meaningful moments for families who live in and visit Sterling, Wall said. “Providing a better environment for the fish habitat did just that. That was the main goal. Additionally, the beauty of the fountains has provided unintended positive moments as well by enhancing the photogenic scene of the lake as well as the tranquility of the lake by providing a relaxing sound.”

The approximately $30,000 project was funded in part by a Community Fisheries Assistance Program Grant through KDWPT. This project at Sterling Lake Park will bring dividends to the community for years to come.

“By working together with Air-O-Lator and the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism, we were able to create a better experience for our residents and visitors by first and foremost enhancing the oxygen and nutrient levels in the water through the use of aeration, but also by enhancing the beauty of our scenery,” said Mayor of Sterling Bob Booth.