Bird hide purifies lake

Article image - Bird hide purifies lake Solar power is used to transfer nutrient-rich water into stripping basins.

A solar array disguised as a bird hide is under construction on the shores of Yangebup Lake, City of Cockburn, Western Australia, as part of ongoing projects to improve water quality at the waterbird haven.

The solar array will power a pump to transfer nutrient-rich water from the lake into two stripping basins situated higher in the landscape about 200m away. Here nutrients in the water will be taken up by plants installed in the basin.

Cockburn Environment Manager, Chris Beaton, said the lake was considered hypereutrophic, or extremely rich in nutrients and minerals, due to a wool scouring operation located on its shores from about 1970 to 2000.

“It is also an integral component of the existing stormwater drainage scheme and in past years, intense algal blooms have provided a food source for nuisance midge that breed in plague proportions impacting the quality of life of local residents.

“The stripping basins will address these issues as the water will percolate through the soil, removing additional nutrients, before re-entering the groundwater and lake over time.”

The project is the latest in a series of works at the lake over several years to reduce its nutrient load.

“These improvement works have included revegetation, transforming drains into living streams, installation of insect light traps and construction of the original nutrient stripping basin.

 “This innovative project will further reduce nutrients within the lake and reduce incidences of algal blooms and nuisance midge.

“The bird hide will also give local residents an opportunity to observe birdlife while the basins will supply an additional diverse habit for a variety of local fauna.”