Around 200kg of oxygen will be pumped into sections of the Swan River’s middle reaches every day this summer in a bid to improve water quality.
Water Resources Minister Dr Kim Hames today switched on an oxygenation barge that has been purpose-built to operate on the Swan River.
“The barge is ready in time to be tested on the Swan River when traditionally water quality is at its lowest,” Dr Hames said.
“The summer period is when conditions of warmer temperatures and low rainfall combine with nutrients in the system to trigger algal blooms.
“We have already seen one nuisance bloom in the Swan River in the last month, and if we have a hot, dry summer we can expect to see more.
“That is why innovative efforts to combat poor water quality such as the mobile oxygenation barge are important to help us find ways to provide immediate water quality improvements.
“While the long-term solution is to reduce the amount of nutrients entering the system, we still have over a century of nutrients already in the system to tackle.”
The Swan River oxygenation barge was trialled for several weeks earlier this year in late summer.
“I’m pleased to say that the trial showed promise in two areas of the river that regularly experience poor water quality, and this summer the barge will be operating in these two areas - near Ron Courtney Island and the Guildford Road Bridge,” Dr Hames said.
The barge will be anchored while it pumps water from the river, mixes it with oxygen and injects it back into the river. This is the same method which has shown promise on the Canning River, and is now being used on that river for the fourth year.
Staff from the Water and Rivers Commission and Swan River Trust will evaluate the success of the oxygenation barge through daily monitoring.
The Swan River oxygenation barge is part of the State Government’s $14 million Swan-Canning Cleanup Program (SCCP) announced in August 1999. This program is using both long and short-term projects to improve the health of the Swan and Canning Rivers.
The Coast and Clean Seas Program and the Swan-Canning Cleanup Program - with support and technical expertise from BOC Gases - fund the oxygenation barge project.
Information on the Swan-Canning Cleanup Program is available on 1800 062 549.
Media contact: Sandy Gater, 9424 7450