High-tech combat of blue-green algae

Solar powered ultrasound unit in Lake Jerrabomberra

Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council has begun a 12-month trial of two solar-powered floating ultrasound units to combat blue-green algae in Lake Jerrabomberra.

Two pontoons, installed this week, are fitted with solar panels that power ultrasound units emitting underwater sound waves. The sound waves induce sono-chemical reactions in the water to prevent algal growth and blooming numbers from occurring.

The sound waves are at frequencies higher than the upper audible limit of human hearing. They are harmless to humans, fish and other aquatic life.

The technology is being used world-wide to control algal blooms without the use of chemicals. In regional NSW, a trial at Lake Albert near Wagga started in December 2018. The trial has observed no impacts on flora or fauna.

Council conducts regular water testing at various locations around Lake Jerrabomberra. The performance of the ultrasound units during the 12-month trial will be measured against lab results and the presence of blue-green algae over the summer months.

Other actions Council implements to improve water quality in Lake Jerrabomberra include educating the community about protecting stormwater from pollution sources such as detergents, dog poo, fertilisers and sewer overflows.

Residents surrounding the lake are being provided with information explaining the trial and the equipment being used. Signage has been placed around the lake to inform the many residents who enjoy the lake’s outdoor exercise circuit and shared path that circles the lake.

Council is keen to improve the quality of the water in the lake to ensure the lake and its surrounds remain as a popular feature of the local Jerrabomberra community. The community can assist the trial by ensuring paddle boat/kayak users avoid the pontoons; no climbing on the pontoons; and no swimming in the lake.

The high-tech solution to control algae is chemical-free, cost-effective, easy to monitor, safe and environmentally friendly.

Any vandalism or issues with the equipment can be reported by calling 1300 735 025.

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