Bluffton Village Chosen to Introduce, Demonstrate Streamside Products to Area

by Paula McKibben   Mayor Augsburger has announced that Bluffton was chosen as the location to introduce Streamside LLC products to the immediate area. John Bowers, Bluffton Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator, will coordinate the activities with Streamside in Bluffton. Bowers indicated that the demonstration will give volunteers (during the demonstration) the opportunity to assist in the remediation of the watershed.
   The demonstration of the Sandwand™, a tool used to clean sediment from waterways, is sponsored jointly by the Blanchard River Watershed Partnership (BRWP), the Village of Bluffton, the City of Findlay and Streamside LLC. Plan to be at the Riley Street bridge, located just before the Mennonite Memorial Home cottages, on Friday, June 2, from 1-4 p.m. This site was chosen because this is where the Little Riley meets the Big Riley.
   Streamside LLC, whose main office is in Findlay, and its subsidiaries have been cleaning streams in the United States and Canada since 2002.
   Randall Tucker developed the Sandwand™ and other technologies in the early 90s when there was a dam breach in northern Michigan, affecting a stream that he owned property on. He had hoped to retire there to fish, but the stream no longer was the fisherman’s dream he had remembered as a child. As a result, his goal became restoring the stream, a goal he accomplished.
   According to information supplied by Streamside, “The Sandwand™ is a sediment removal system. … It is successfully being used to remove silt and sediment clogging the streams. The system removes only the silt, sand and fine sediment from within the gravel and cobble and leaves gravel larger than 1/8 inch in the river bottom.
   “Since it is typically excess fine sediments that are most responsible for biological and habitat impacts, as well as any sediment-associated contaminants, it is critical to target this range of harmful particle sizes. Streamside equipment can selectively remove just the harmful fine sediments (sands, silts, and clays) while leaving the native clean gravel and cobble in the stream.”
   According to Brian Halm, Director of Operations/Business Development at Streamside, the Sandwand™ actually pulls silt from as deep as 16 inches using a water jet to flush the area. Suction is used within the Sandwand™ head to pull the finer particles that are tumbling in suspension there.
   Halm says, “The cleaned or restored area should stay cleaned of excessive build up of sediment (unless there is a storm event with high flows) for months to years following the restoration.”
   Besides the length of time that the stream will stay clean, there is another advantage. In other methods of stream cleaning, fish are often netted before a project begins. With the Sandwand™, Halm commented, “typically fish will swim away from the area” and not even monitoring biologists have evidence of fish being sucked into the system.
   Once cleaned, macroinvertebrates can repopulate the stream. The Stroud Water Research Center defines macroinvertebrates as bottom-dwelling animals such as crustaceans, worms and aquatic insects like beetles, mayflies, dragonflies and some moths that provide a vital link in the food chain between leaves, algae and fish.
   This repopulation happens, Halm says, because “the Sandwand™ takes out the heavy impact of the settled sediment in an area and the lighter material may settle back overtop, but the cleaner channel will allow for natural flushing to keep the area cleaned.” Also, the restored habitat for the macroinvertebrates will allow them to better keep up with the natural organic loading of the suspended sediment that is their food source.

See the full story in the Bluffton News