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Green investigation into algae problems

PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 May 2010 | UPDATED: 09:41 01 August 2010

THE Broads Authority is exploring green ways to overcome the annual problem of mussels and algae affecting boats.

It is trialing a raft of environmentally-friendly alternatives to toxic antifouling paint and its removal on its fleet of launches, work and trip boats.

THE Broads Authority is exploring green ways to overcome the annual problem of mussels and algae affecting boats.

It is trialing a raft of environmentally-friendly alternatives to toxic antifouling paint and its removal on its fleet of launches, work and trip boats.

A green method of removing and containing antifouling paint waste to prevent further pollution has been tested on one of the authority's steel work boats.

A low pressure jet of volcanic sand mixed with water is fired at the hull which blasts the paint and any rust off.

The waste mix is trapped in an inflatable plastic lagoon laid under the boat which prevents contamination running into the rivers and broads.

The mixture of blast sand and paint flakes are then shoveled into bags for safe disposal in an approved landfill site.

Adrian Kingsland, business development manager of Blastgreen, at Seething, near Loddon, said: “This is a simple idea that small boatyards and sailing clubs could adopt to stop pretty nasty stuff containing heavy metals and pollutants going into the rivers.

“The wet blast machines have a wide pressure range which can be adjusted to suit all types of boats from steel to wood and GRP. The jet blasting gives a good surface key for reapplication.”

The environmentally-friendly method has a jet of about 90 pounds per square inch (psi) and uses less than 1 litre of water a minute compared to 2,500 psi and 16 litres of water a minute used by a car jet wash.

Dan Hoare, Broads Authority waterways conservation manager said: “Containing antifouling removed from hulls and prevention of pollution in the Broads is a responsibility for all boatyards and clubs.

“We are very impressed with the efficiency of the wet blasting, how little water it used and the ease with which the waste was able to be cleared up.”

The equipment is used by local authorities to remove graffiti and painted lines on roads as well as by marinas, naval dockyards, and building services.

It is exported to the USA, Europe and the Middle East and is available both for purchase or hire. For more information visit www.blastgreen.com.

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