CLEVELAND, Ohio – A farm drainage tile that filters out phosphorus? A trash screen for storm sewers? An ultrasonic frequency that kills algae? You can vote on your favorite invention to clean up Lake Erie, as part of ErieHack 2.0.
The Cleveland Water Alliances competition aims to find solutions to Lake Erie’s most pressing problems, offering $100,000 in prizes. The final nine teams are pitching a panel of environmental expert judges Thursday. But you can also be a judge in the People’s Choice competition.
Each person gets one vote, by 6 p.m. Wednesday. Vote here.
“We wanted a way to further engage the public in this important and innovative Erie Hack competition and also recognize the teams’ efforts,’’ Cleveland Water Alliance Executive Director Bryan Stubb said. “And this award seemed like a fun way to help do that.”
The Cleveland Water Alliance is a five-year-old non-profit that leads a network of corporations, universities, research institutions, public agencies and utilities. The goal is to create an entire business ecosystem — from research and innovation to manufacturing — around Lake Erie.
The Alliance last month won a $15,000 award from the Great Lakes Protection Fund. It partners with organizations in Detroit; Toledo; Erie, Pennsylvania; Buffalo, New York and Windsor, Ontario, for ErieHack.
Brooke Baker, whose team Erie-Duction proposes inserting ochre into farm drainage tiles, has shared the voting ballot on social media and asked friends and family to vote.
Erie-duction’s plan is to use the mix of ferric oxide, clay and sand to filter phosphorus from fertilizer draining from Northwest Ohio farmland. The ocre would keep the chemical out of the Maumee River, and eventually, Lake Erie, where every summer it contributes to harmful algal blooms.
Erie-Duction is the only one of four college teams left in the competition, Baker said.
“So far it’s been great,” she said. “We’ve seen some really cool solutions.”
Anyone can attend the finals Thursday, though you must pre-register.
The teams in the finals are:
- CAZWest, Buffalo
- Blue Lion Labs, Windsor
- TACSO, Cleveland
- Erie-Duction, Cleveland
- CCTronic, Toledo
- S4, Cleveland
- Cle AI, Cleveland
- Photodynamica, Toledo
- UWIN Team, Windsor