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Power to Save: keeping water clean with solar power

There's something new in the water in the Huntsville Reservoir near Dallas.

DALLAS, Pa. — Hot temperatures like we've seen this week can lead to algae blooms, and an algae bloom in a water supply can be a big problem.

Pennsylvania American Water is using new solar technology to keep the water clean.

"The SolarBee unit is basically a big mixer. It takes water from different depths, and it churns it, so it's getting fresh water each time," explained Kristi English, Pennsylvania American Water. "It's improving water circulation, so it's better water quality for our customers. It's all using solar power, too. There's nothing electrical hooked up to them. It's just a unit that's deployed running on its own power."

To get a better look at them, we took a boat ride out onto the 402-square-acre reservoir.

Pennsylvania American Water has installed four SolarBees. That provides partial treatment for the reservoir. The hope is to install seven more to provide a full treatment.

Using SolarBees is ecofriendly and a less invasive method of surface water treatment.

"There's a copper sulfate treatment that you can use. I was looking for alternative treatments that we wouldn't have to dump anything in," English said.

SolarBee mixers are designed to help with taste and odor issues as well as algae issues.

"We don't want an algae bloom in the drinking water supply because it causes several different treatment issues here at the plant."

So far, Pennsylvania American Water officials are happy with the results.

"It's churning water very well. They just did their first checkup on it, and they're working as they should."

These solar-powered machines are churning 10,000 gallons of water a minute, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.