UPDATE – Tuesday
Wagga City councillors on Monday night approved a “trial of ultrasound technology for controlling cyanobacteria bloom in Lake Albert”.
Cr Tim Koschel told the meeting that he wanted the first priority during the anti-blue green algae trial to be the “safety of lake users”.
Cr Koschel said the community needed to be made aware of the ultrasonic units going into the water.
“Lake Albert is one of the city’s biggest assets, used for all recreational types whether on the lake with water craft or walking around the lake,” he said.
“It’s really good that we are out there trying to fix the issues and I just wanted that extra part to ensure the safety of all users.”
EARLIER – Thursday
Wagga City Council is expected to soon trial state of the art ultrasound technology in a new bid to rid Lake Albert of blue-green algae.
On Monday evening, councillors will vote on a recommendation to install an ultrasound machine into the lake capable of purifying the water and keeping algae cells at bay.
Commercial operations director Caroline Angel said the technology would only take four to six weeks to kick in and start improving the water’s quality.
“Lake Albert has had a long history of blue-green algae blooms, particularly coming into the warmer months, so we’ve been looking at other options and seeing what might be available that is more environmentally friendly,” Ms Angel said.
“The system will not be a perfect solution – after heavy rainfall, there’s always the potential that there will be an algae bloom, however it will deal with it quite quickly and make sure that the lake can be used through the bloom.”
If approved at Monday night’s council meeting, the ultrasound unit could be installed as early as December –just in time for the arrival of another hot summer.
The council’s new project delivery manager, Rupesh Shah, said some European and American communities had already had success with the technology.
“Ultrasound has been used in medical science since the mid-1950s, but it’s now becoming increasingly popular in Europe and in the USA for treating blue-green algae,” Mr Shah said.
“It’s very eco-friendly, there are no negative effects to the flora and fauna, and it’s very cost-effective … it’s a one-off installation cost and, after that, it’s just meeting your maintenance costs and probably changing your batteries every five years.”
If successful, Lake Albert will be one of the first sites in Australia to use the new technology to contain algae outbreaks.
Mr Shah explained the ultrasound technology worked to prevent algal blooms in two different ways.
“First, it will create an ultrasonic sound barrier on the water surface, which prevents the blue-green algae from coming up to the surface to get sunlight, so they won’t get photosynthesis and then, eventually, they’ll die,” he said.
“It also results in a sonic chemical reaction, which simply means it will inject water jets at a very high pressure and temperature into these algae cells, which will kill them.”
As that process repeats over the months, Mr Shah said the overall water quality of Lake Albert will steadily improve, which will hopefully mean the lake can stay open for use all year long.
Ms Angel said the council is still hopeful that the Tatton Drain diversion will go ahead in addition to the ultrasound technology.