ST. MARYS — The Ohio EPA and Ohio Department of Natural Resources have begun monitoring water quality in Grand Lake St. Marys to battle harmful algal blooms.Four water monitoring stations from YSI Inc., an Ohio-based manufacturer of water-monitoring systems, have been positioned in the 13,000-acre lake. The stations send data to the state environmental departments about conditions below the surface, viewable at http://livelakedata.com.The project was announced Monday at Grand Lake St. Marys State Park.“This has saved Ohio EPA a lot of time,” Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott J. Nally said in a written statement. “Without this equipment, staff would have had to travel to the lake for 40 straight days to gather the data.” The Yellow Springs-based company installed the stations within two weeks, and ODNR staff said it helped manage alum treatments in June by allowing them to monitor dissolved oxygen levels. “When [dissolved oxygen] concentration was high enough, we could proceed with applying the alum,” said Harry Gibbons, water quality lead at TetraTech, the state’s consultant for the alum project. “Importantly, no fish kills occurred because of the alum treatment.”Continuous data from YSI systems will be utilized in the coming years during various treatments aimed at reducing phosphorus, which feeds algae. The U.S. Geological Survey will also maintain a monitoring station on the lake, which measures water quality at two different levels.Manmade and natural sources introduced phosphates and nitrates to the lake that have deteriorated water quality since 2009. Ohio EPA and various federal, state and local partners have been working to make improvements along streams that feed the lake to improve overall water quality. You can comment on this story at www.LimaOhio.com.