High-tech cleanup underway on the National Mall

At Constitution Gardens, the water has long been dark and murky.

“The pond here was poorly designed in the 1970s,” said Mike Litterst of the National Park Service.

Now, to clean up the pond, one company has been injecting the water with tiny bubbles of oxygen and ozone.

“The bubbles are so small that they actually sink to the bottom of the water body and they go to work,” said Barry Hinton of Blue Nano Technologies.

In the simplest possible terms, the oxygen supports healthy bacteria while the ozone breaks down harmful organisms.

Blue Nano Technologies is using bubbles filled with oxygen and ozone to clean up the waters of the National Mall. (WTOP/John Aaron)
Blue Nano Technologies is using bubbles filled with oxygen and ozone to clean up the waters of the National Mall. (WTOP/John Aaron)
Blue Nano Technologies is using bubbles filled with oxygen and ozone to clean up the waters of the National Mall. (WTOP/John Aaron)
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Additionally, the bubbles’ size lets them stick around in the water longer.

“The treatment will continue to work for days and weeks and sometimes months after we leave,” Hinton said.

Cleaning the water without the use of harsh chemicals is “really a game-changer for the National Park Service,” Litterst said.

He added that if the run is successful, the technology could be used elsewhere on the Mall. “The Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool certainly comes to mind,” he said.

Blue Nano Technologies is doing the current treatment free of charge in order to show off the technology.

Hinton said in the one week since they began the treatment, they’re already seeing a difference in water quality. He believes that in another week or so, visitors will be able to see the bottom of the pond.

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