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Ultrasound latest weapon to fight blue-green algae on Diss Mere

PUBLISHED: 11:20 20 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:20 20 July 2018

Blue-green algae warning sign at Diss Mere. Picture: Simon Parkin

Blue-green algae warning sign at Diss Mere. Picture: Simon Parkin

Archant

A hi-tech ultrasound device is set to be the latest weapon in efforts to find a solution to problems with blue-green algae which thrives in Diss Mere during the summer months.

Blue-green algae at Diss Mere. Picture: Simon ParkinBlue-green algae at Diss Mere. Picture: Simon Parkin

The current warm spell has seen a flourishing of the toxic algae, which poses a health risk to humans and animals, around the edges of the lake.

Now Diss Town Council is to install an ultrasonic device on the boardwalk next week in the latest bid to deal with the problem.

Town clerk Sarah Richards said the technology had been recommended as the best and most cost-effective method to tackle algae by consultants AGA Group after they produced a water quality management plan for the Mere in 2017.

She said: “Its ultrasonic technology has the ability to eliminate a significant proportion of existing algae and prevent new algae growth by transmitting ultrasound through the water, which disrupts the cell vacuole of blue/green and filamentous algae.

An ultrasonic device like the one to be installed at Diss Mere. Picture: Diss Town CouncilAn ultrasonic device like the one to be installed at Diss Mere. Picture: Diss Town Council

“This kills the cell but the cell wall remains intact preventing the release of toxins from the algae into the water. The ultrasound used by the ultrasonic units is safe for fish, zooplankton and invertebrates because the voltage is low.”

Blue-green algae are microscopic, but clump together in visible colonies that can rise to the surface and form thin wispy green blooms or thick green scum. When it is ingested, it can cause damage to the liver or the nervous system in humans and animals.

Outbreaks on Diss Mere in previous years has forced the council to switch off the popular water fountain feature, fearing people could be sprayed by toxic water droplets in windy weather.

The ultrasound device is one recommendation from the wider water quality management plan for the Mere.

Blue-green algae at Diss Mere. Picture: Simon ParkinBlue-green algae at Diss Mere. Picture: Simon Parkin

Ms Richards said: “They concluded that there are a number of problems associated with the Mere that are contributing to its overall relatively poor condition as a sustainable aquatic habitat. These include run off from the surrounding catchment, the large waterfowl population, erosion and insufficient infrastructure.

“To overcome these problems, they recommended that we take a holistic approach to improve the health of the Mere.”

Another problem is the build-up of wildfowl droppings, which encourages the growth of algae and smothers aquatic plants and depletes the oxygen levels.

The town council is trying to educate the public not to feed bread to the ducks, but pellets instead which can be bought from the Break charity shop on Mere Street.

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