Oxygen may find use in a range of applications from steel production to respiration in the healthcare sector, but at Thurmond Lake in the US the industrial gas finds itself used in an altogether different application.

With oxygen pumped into the lake, oxygenated water should both lure and retain fish during the hot summer months.

Located on the Georgia-South Carolina border in the US, Thurmond Lake is the second largest artificial lake east of the Mississippi river. Built by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1946 and 1954, the lake is a popular public recreation site – including for fishing purposes.

Construction began this summer on a cryogenic oxygen plant that will pump 20 to 100 tons per day of liquid oxygen through seven miles of perforated pipes submerged around 80 to 90 feet below the lake’s surface.

According to the Augusta Chronicle, its impact will come in the form of a swath of highly oxygenated water that will lure and hold sport-fish during the hot summer months.

The first of three construction phases is believed to now be under way and involves road improvements to accommodate the frequent truck traffic required to bring oxygen to the plant.

The site will also have a permanent storage facility and cryogenic oxygen plant, while the completed facility is expected to go online in the autumn of 2010.

Once online, the project is expected to increase dissolved oxygen levels by up to 3 parts per million along a five-mile swath from Modoc downstream to the face of Thurmond Dam.

Current oxygen levels in the area can fall to as little as 1 part per million during warm weather.