Clay may help stop blooms

Pinjarra Murray Times - - NEWS -

A NEWLY cre­ated phos­pho­rous-bind­ing clay de­signed to fight al­gal blooms in re­gional wa­ter­ways is be­ing tri­alled in a large agri­cul­tural drain in the Peel-Har­vey catch­ment.

Nearly a quar­ter tonne of the clay will be used dur­ing the trial to treat around 3200 kilo­litres of phos­pho­rous­rich wa­ter, the equiv­a­lent of about 80 back­yard swim­ming pools.

The Depart­ment of Wa­ter and En­vi­ron­men­tal Reg­u­la­tion, as part of the Re­gional Es­tu­ar­ies ini­tia­tive, will closely mon­i­tor changes in phos­pho­rous lev­els, be­fore dur­ing and af­ter the treat­ment.

If suc­cess­ful, the clay may prove a cost-ef­fec­tive mea­sure to re­duce phos­pho­rous loads and help pre­vent al­gal blooms in rivers and es­tu­ar­ies.

Pun­rak Drain in Ker­alup has been cho­sen for the trial be­cause it car­ries one of the Peel-Har­vey catch­ment’s more con­cen­trated phos­pho­rus loads and drains in the lower Ser­pen­tine River.

Depart­ment of Wa­ter and En­vi­ron­men­tal Reg­u­la­tion en­vi­ron­men­tal of­fi­cer Svenja Tuli­pani said nu­tri­ents wasa main cause of al­gal blooms in rivers and es­tu­ar­ies.

“Lab­o­ra­tory tests and a small trial in the lower Vasse River us­ing the clay prod­uct have shown promis­ing re­sults but large-scale use in a fast flow­ing phos­pho­rous­rich agri­cul­tural drain has never been tried,’’ Dr Tuli­pani said.

The trial car­ries on the the State Gov­ern­ment’s in­no­va­tion in tack­ling al­gal blooms with state agen­cies and CSIRO de­vel­op­ing the nu­tri­ent bind­ing clay prod­uct Phoslock, which is now a com­mer­cial prod­uct used world­wide to re­duce al­gal blooms.

En­vi­ron­men­tal of­fi­cer Svenja Tuli­pani takes wa­ter sam­ples at Pun­rak Drain.

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