Bioreactor boosts Great Barrier Reef water quality

Nitrate trap: Bioreactor boosts Great Barrier Reef water quality

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NITRATE TRAP: Construction of a bioreactor is underway at Giru to boost Great Barrier Reef water quality.

NITRATE TRAP: Construction of a bioreactor is underway at Giru to boost Great Barrier Reef water quality.

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Construction of a bioreactor is underway at Giru to boost Great Barrier Reef water quality.

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EARTHWORKS have begun on a cane farm near Giru where a bioreactor are being constructed as part of a trial to help improve water quality in the Great Barrier Reef.

The trial aims to test if bioreactors in a tropical environment could stop excess nitrates in water leaving farms and flowing into the Great Barrier Reef.   

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said denitrification bioreactors were a low cost, practical solution to water quality problems.

“Similar bioreactors operating on horticulture farms in south-east Queensland have been able to significantly reduce nitrate levels in shallow groundwater,” Mr Furner said.

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries project leader Carla Wegscheidl said bioreactors were trenches filled with either softwood or hardwood chips, which intercept ground or surface water.

“They enhance the natural denitrification process by converting nitrate into inert nitrogen gas, which is lost to the atmosphere, and stop nitrates entering the Great Barrier Reef,” she said.

The bioreactor trials are a collaboration between the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Queensland University of Technology. QUT is leading the design and monitoring components of the project.

The project is funded by the Queensland Government’s Great Barrier Reef Innovation Fund under the Queensland Reef Water Quality Program.

RELATED STORY: ‘Cane to Coast: Cane growers showcase Great Barrier Reef work’.

The story Bioreactor boosts Great Barrier Reef water quality first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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