BlueGreen Water Technologies Curing HABs in Lakes
BlueGreen Water Technologies

A before and after montage of a BlueGreen Water Technologies use case. Photo: BlueGreen Water Technologies

Sharon Wroble writes in about BlueGreen Water Technologies, an Israeli company founded in 2018, to commercialize their two treatments designed to eliminate cyanobacterial toxic blooms and leaving no trace in the water. They claim these treatments can be applied to any body of water, and that the results can be seen in a matter of hours.

“Under conditions of global warming, with the temperature of water rising, you get the perfect conditions for bacterial infection. So, what we are dealing with is actually a bacterial infection of water,” said Eyal Harel, BlueGreen’s CEO, who founded the company with his brother Moshe. “When you don’t treat an infection, it will continue growing and growing until it reaches catastrophic proportions, where water becomes what is known as a dead aquatic zone.”

There are roughly 60 million lakes around the world infected by cyanobacteria, and over 11 million square miles of ocean water considered dead aquatic zones. Existing chemical treatments for toxic algae outbreaks — primarily copper and hydrogen peroxide — are limited to small water reservoirs and ponds and are heavy, sinking quickly. As a result, much of the bloom on the surface of the water remains. This leads to the use of still more chemicals, which is more cost-intensive and damages the ecosystem.

“To solve the problem, we changed the physical properties of the chemical compounds to turn them into a lighter substance and make them float,” says Mr. Harel.

BlueGreen’s Lake Guard Oxy is a white powder that can be dusted manually from the shore, a boat or from the air, showing results within 24 to 48 hours, the company claims.

“We used very small quantities of chemicals to activate a biological chain reaction within the target species, causing them to naturally undergo a collective suicide,” he said. “The moment we put the product in the water, we saw an immediate response, we saw the green contaminated water turn to brown.”

During its first international treatment of the 330-acre Chippewa Lake, the largest inland natural lake in Ohio, in August 2019, the treatment broke five years of high toxicity levels in the lake, which has since remained free of toxic algae, according to the water tech company.

Barry H. Rosen, professor at the Water School of the Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) argues that such a method risks harming algae beyond the cyanobacteria targeted. “Outside the area of application, there is a pool of organisms ready to move back in and repopulate the area. They can take advantage of nutrients released from dead cells. If it is a return of the same cyano, the product does not remove the nutrients, which is the key cause of these blooms,” he said, adding that confined areas, such as canals and boat docks, would be better application sites than larger lakes.

Dr. Rosen also suggested that more research was needed to investigate what conditions allow for regrowth, and whether the timing of a potential bloom can be delayed or prevented from reoccurring.

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