A proprietary algaecide developed by an Israeli-based cleantech company is creating significant drops in toxic cyanobacteria species that contaminates lakes worldwide.
Developed in 2014, the blue powder algaecide is based on sodium percarbonate that releases hydrogen peroxide. Floating, time-release particles propelled by the forces of winds and currents “trigger a selective biological programmed cell death within the general toxic cyanobacteria populations, causing them to collapse,” according to BlueGreen Water Technologies Ltd.
Algal blooms can significantly affect the health of the flora and fauna of water bodies, and can prove harmful to those who drink it or even inhale their toxins from the air—including animals and humans. In Canada, the issue is highlighted through the perennially algae-infested Lake Erie and most notably, Lake Winnipeg.
In summer 2019, the Tel Aviv company tested its U.S. EPA-approved and NSF/ANSI-60 certified product, Lake Guard Blue, for the first time in the U.S. on Ohio’s Chippewa Lake. By using a boat to apply the blue powder, it took 24 hours for the algaecide to clear the lake’s harmful algal blooms. Annually these are responsible for the suspension of all lake activities throughout most of the recreational season.
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Following the Chippewa Lake application, the company says there was a distinct “trend in favor of beneficial species at the account of toxic species.” Tens of acres of water surface were also covered with a greyish-beige colour of protein-based foam, the company states in a report.
“This phenomenon is attributed to cyanobacterial cell lysis and a clear indication that cyanobacterial cell death continued progressing for days after treatment, long after copper levels were undetectable in the water,” states a report by BlueGreen Water Technologies Ltd.
Most recently, in spring 2020, the company used its algaecide as an “emergency intervention” treatment within Roodeplaat Dam in South Africa, an important water source for the northern areas of Pretoria, where pollution and drought have contributed to toxic algal blooms spiraling out of control.
The algaecide, which has also been utilized in Israel, Russia and China, is designed to be used in minute quantities regularly to prevent the occurrence of blooms altogether, according to the company.
Following its first ever product tests in June 2014, a single treatment of the algaecide resulted in the immediate reduction of surface cyanobacteria by 78%. Importantly, the cyanobacterial populations deeper in the water were also immediately affected and decreased by 56%, according to a report by the company.