Breaking Boundaries: How Ecocoast is tackling the spread of lethal algae blooms
In the latest Netflix sustainability documentary Breaking Boundaries, Johan Rockström highlighted the environmental impact of green-blue algal blooms that have become increasingly common in European waters. To combat this issue, a reactive product solution has been successfully installed in Belgium by Ecocoast to supply floating booms specifically designed to contain the bi-product of fertiliser run-offs. The successful implementation was measured during the summer of 2020, where an Ecocoast floating boom was installed at water-link’s reservoir in Duffel, northern Belgium.
Gregory Duquennois, Ecocoast agent said: “Every summer, to varying degrees of intensity, water reservoirs in Europe bloom with toxic green/blue algae. Algal blooms have caused sporadic problems in European water treatment processes for decades. An Ecocoast floating boom was installed on a big water reservoir at Duffel Belgium for water-link to contain the algae as a cost effective, non-invasive measure to overcome this annual challenge. The Ecocoast floating boom prevents algae from entering the water supply, without the use of chemicals or contaminating the reservoir.”
Green/blue algae occur when nutrients get into surface waters and cause rapid growth in the algae present in the water. When water abstracted for drinking water treatment contains algal blooms, blockages can occur in filters and odours may develop in the treated water.
Toxic algal blooms, which cause toxins to be liberated in the water, are caused by the cyanobacteria species of algae. It lasts for a few days or sometimes weeks and can repeat itself a few times in the season. These algal blooms can have several severe impacts, including destroying aquatic environments, contaminating surface and groundwater reserves, and disrupting drinking water supplies. They can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as the concentration of nutrients increasing in water bodies during dry periods, or even when there is heavy rainfall, large amounts of sediment can be flushed into water systems.
The floating boom, engineered by Ecocoast, is lightweight, making installation and removal of the boom easier. The boom only needs to be in place for the summer and can be removed before winter. It provides a natural way of containing the algae and keeping it away from water inlets, without additional chemicals or contamination of the water reservoirs. In this way, normal water treatment can continue. Ecocoast engineers, manufactures, supplies and installs different types of containment booms. As every construction site and water environment is different, they can be custom designed and manufactured to suit the project requirements.
This specific site used an Ecobarrier Solid Flotation Boom which was 200m in length. The boom has a high UV stabilised PVC membrane and uses hot dip galvanised steel, making it fit for long-term deployment. The aluminium ASTM end connectors ensure the boom connection is strong enough to give a solid, rigid structure so that water-link can install it in the summer and remove it with ease. The containment booms by Ecocoast have been successfully implemented across the world, including El Salvador, Mozambique, United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong.
For more information, please visit www.ecocoast.com