Innovative Clay Trial Improves Estuary Water Quality

 Seagriculture EU 2024
Innovative Clay Trial Improves Estuary Water Quality

Macroalgal mat accumulation on the Coodanup Foreshore, November 2021. ©City of Mandurah

In Western Australia an innovative new trial is helping to improve water quality in the Peel-Harvey estuary catchment by reducing the nutrients that fuel algal growth.

Scientists from Healthy Estuaries WA have applied a specially manufactured clay-based treatment to a drain in the catchment of the Peel-Harvey estuary (Bindjareb Djilba). The clay successfully bound up to 95 per cent of the phosphorus at the treatment site, preventing it from fueling algal growth in the downstream waterways.

Many local waterways like the Serpentine River (Waangaamaap Bilya) can receive excess phosphorus from used fertilizer in their catchment, potentially causing algal growth that can lead to fish kills and adverse human health impacts. 

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation has been working with a novel clay known as Hydrotalcite clay, or HT-clay. It is made from a natural bentonite clay modified with hydrotalcite: a phosphorus binding mineral. The manufacturing process involves mixing several raw ingredients together, causing chemical reactions where the clay becomes coated in the phosphorus binding material. 

Reducing Phosphorus Concentrations

The application of the clay to reduce phosphorus concentrations in the waterways complements ongoing work through Healthy Estuaries WA in the catchment. This work with farmers is reducing the amount of fertilizer applied to farms, preventing loss of further nutrients to the waterways. 

The clay production and distribution have been funded by the State Government’s Bindjareb Djilba Protection Plan and Healthy Estuaries WA program. “The phosphorus binding clay is a Western Australian invention and demonstrates the innovative new approaches our State Government is taking to look after the health of our precious waterways,” said Water Minister Simone McGurk.

Healthy Estuaries WA is a $25 million State Government commitment, which focuses on improving the health of the Peel-Harvey estuary, Leschenault Estuary, Vasse-Geographe waterways, Hardy Inlet, Wilson Inlet, Torbay Inlet and Oyster Harbour.

All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint articles in their entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact david@algaeplanet.com. Algae Planet accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

Seagriculture USA 2024
AlgaeMetrics

Subscribe

Breaking-News

  • April 19, 2024: Hospitalized COVID-19 patients who took spirulina had a lower risk of death than those who did not, according to results of a randomized controlled trial recently published in Frontiers in Immunology. READ MORE...
  • April 17, 2024: A research team exploring the untapped potential of seaweed farming for carbon sequestration is positioning Taiwan to play a role in offsetting global carbon emissions. READ MORE...
  • April 15, 2024: Somater, a French manufacturer of plastic and polymer primary packaging for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food, and industry, has partnered with French start-up Eranova to create a 100% bio-based line of packaging from green algae collected on the banks of a brackish water lagoon near Marseille, in the south of France. READ MORE...
  • April 12, 2024: Global warming is triggering significant shifts in temperate macroalgal communities worldwide, favoring small, warm-affinity species over large canopy-forming, cold-affinity species. A new study delves into the impacts of increasing sea surface temperature on the subtidal macroalgal communities in the southeastern Bay of Biscay over the last four decades. READ MORE...

Algae Europe 2024

A Beginner’s Guide