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Pump pontoon in the River Torrens

Supplier: Global Pumps
04 June, 2012

Using ABS pumps to help reduce the blooming of blue-green algae in the River Torrens.

Objective
 
To use the ABS submersible sewage pump in curing and dewatering Adelaide's infested River Torrens of blue-green toxic algae (algae) and restoring natural aquatic ecosystems and bio-diversity in the surrounding areas.
 
Introduction
 
Algae belong to a group of aquatic plants that include chlorophyll and other photosynthetic elements or pigments. While most algae are microscopic in size, some can grow very large. E.g. seaweed. Algae may multiply and breed as single cells, cell aggregations or colonies.
 
Adelaide’s hot and dry weather conditions triggered the growth of toxic blue-green algae in Adelaide’s River Torrens. This was a problem as the river is used for many public purposes.
 
However, the low natural river flow and unwanted materials from the storm water have caused a sudden outburst of algae with significant levels of E. coli bacteria in the lower part of the river. This happens mainly in the warm weather, making it too toxic for swimming, fishing or boating.
 
Problems
 
S.A. Health conducted a comprehensive study that detected the presence of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) in the Torrens by collecting samples of river water from various sections and sending them for laboratory examination. Based on lab results, direct contact with water between the Torrens Lake Weir and the river mouth at Henley was restricted.
 
The algae are known to produce a toxic substance that can interfere with normal brain functions and can affect the nervous system in a detrimental way. Furthermore, if this water is consumed, the algae may cause other medical problems such as nausea and gastrointestinal diseases.
 
Cyanobacteria are also known to trigger skin rashes and eye irritation. Some algae can cause asthma-like symptoms if inhaled as a fine mist. The algae can also kill native birds and upset the ecological balance of the water bodies.
 
Even non-toxic cyanobacteria can cause allergic skin reactions or contact dermatitis in sensitive people. Harmful blue-green algae produce hepatotoxins or liver poisons that can poison animals, leading to death quite quickly. Some strains of cyanobacteria also produce nerve poisons which may result in the development of fatal tumours or even cause death.
 
To prevent people and animals from contracting these diseases, steps were taken to restrict their access to the river. People were advised against swimming or dipping their feet in the water. They were asked to prevent their pets from swimming or drinking the water. Dogs were identified to be particularly vulnerable in getting toxic organisms stuck in their fur so owners were asked to keep pets away from the algae-infested waters.

Solution
 
While the River Torrens was temporarily subjected to these conditions, effective measures were taken to filter, cross-circulate, clean and maintain the water to make it safe again. This was done by installing 3 ABS submersible sewage pumps mounted on a pontoon to clear the toxic water of all harmful algae, solids and other contaminators.
 
About the ABS Submersible Sewage Pump XFP Series:

This pump is a high performance wastewater pump that operates in Australia, China, Malaysia and Singapore.
 
It’s best suited for clear and waste water as well as sewage with sludge containing solids and fibrous materials. It can efficiently pump algae-infested water. The pump is equipped with high efficiency motors that provide optimum performance.

Other advantages include:

  •  Long-term reliability
  • Greater energy efficiency
  • Excellent rag handling
  • Futuristic design
  • Sustainable manufacturing
  • Easy handling
  • Low maintenance

 Construction
 
The ABS submersible sewage pumps XFP series are made according to standards of the ATEX explosion-proof version and manufactured in accordance with international standards. These factors make it the ideal pump for this particular job.
 
ABS Submersible Sewage Pump XFP Series Working Mechanism
 
The threat to the River Torrens from blue-green algae was quite alarming. This pump was chosen to render the water harmless again. The pontoon contained three pumps so the toxic algae-infested Torrens water could be pumped over the wall to West Lakes or to the Bolivar Wastewater treatment plant for reuse.
 
The initial goal was to transfer 40 megalitres of algae-infested water at a time. But at one point the ABS pumps had to be kept running for 3 weeks to move over 240 megalitres of contaminated water. The pumps were used only for the purpose of transfers and pumped at a rate of 220 litres per second.
 
The pump system and pontoon were installed in December 2011 and have been working efficiently ever since. The aim was to determine whether a low flow could moderate cyanobacterial growth during summer and prevent a bloom.
 
The ABS submersible sewage pump XFP series has proven to be more efficient and easy to monitor and manage. This pump comes equipped with an Auto Dialler System. This control system enables pump operators to call in from any location to check for faults and to start or stop the pumps. The Auto Dialler System is programmed that it even dials certain numbers in case a fault occurs.
 
The ABS submersible sewage pump XFP series has been efficient in meeting the specific waste/toxic water pumping requirements for the River Torrens.
 
Benefits of installing the ABS Submersible Pump

Some of the benefits obtained from the installation of these pumps in the River Torrens include:

  • Transformation of the quality of storm water by clearing the toxins produced by the algae.
  • Reducing the volume and extent of water contamination.
  • Management of the flow of the River Torrens.
  • Efficient and timely treatment of the water.
  • Improvement in water quality.
  • Potentially reducing future losses.
  • Sustaining of bio-diversity in and around River Torrens.

Conclusion
 
The wastewater has been managed properly by installing these pumps. They have efficiently prevented the further contamination of the River Torrens from the blooming of blue-green algae. In addition to treating the river water and freeing it from toxins, these pumps have also been successful in sustaining the aquatic ecosystems and biological diversity of the river. In doing so, they have helped to uphold the integrity of the life support systems of Adelaide which form the backbone of various sectors such as public life and tourist scenery.