Concepcion, Chile Lake Remediation Project

Lake Las Tres Pacuales is located within the boundaries of Concepción, Chile and controlled by the municipality is polluted from years of unregulated waste (both liquid and solid) entering the system. The lake is 5.3 hectares (13 acres) in size, and the types of pollutants present might have already been identified by previous theses studies conducted by students at the Universidad de Concepción (UdeC). A thorough search of the university library will be required.

At the current time, approximately 60 houses have sewer systems that discharge untreated sewage into the lake, and the surrounding urban area (both residential and industrial) contributes to the solid and additional liquid contamination of the water. During the summer months, the lake becomes eutrophic and water plants require harvesting several times each year.

The municipality and private university near the site plan to convert the lake area into a new municipal park. The sixty residential properties that are currently discharging untreated sewage into the lake will be purchased and demolished. The municipality would like to have a preliminary engineering study conducted to determine what options are available to remediate the pollution problems plaguing the lake and the costs for each estimated. The municipality council will be making decisions on which option to pursue within the next two years and the project is set in the municipality long-range plan to be completed within 5 years. The project is also a pilot project for the municipality to monitor for planning similar restoration projects for the additional 5 lakes in the city and the neighboring community of San Pedro will use the project as a guideline for their effort to remediate two lakes in their community.

The team of students that will work on this project will consist of two to three students from Washington State University (WSU) and two to three students from the Universidad de Concepción. The students from WSU will use the project for their senior design class project and the students from UdeC will use the project as the topic for their Senior Thesis (equivalent to WSUs Master of Science thesis). The project was completed by April, 2009, with a presentation to the Municipality de Concepción representatives and a full project report.