Novel approach to improve Peel-Harvey estuary water quality

An innovative trial is helping to improve water quality in the Peel-Harvey estuary catchment by reducing the nutrients that fuel algal growth. 

Scientists from Healthy Estuaries WA have applied a specially manufactured clay-based treatment to a drain in the catchment of the Peel-Harvey estuary (Bindjareb Djilba). The clay successfully bound up to 95 per cent of phosphorus at the treatment site, preventing it from fuelling algal growth in the downstream waterways. 

Many of WA’s waterways receive excess phosphorus from fertiliser use in their catchment, potentially causing algal growth that can lead to fish kills and adverse human health impacts. 

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation has been working on a novel clay made from a natural bentonite clay modified with hydrotalcite: a phosphorus binding mineral.  

The clay production and distribution have been funded by the State Government’s Bindjareb Djilba Protection Plan and Healthy Estuaries WA program – a commitment focused on improving the health of Peel-Harvey estuary, Leschenault Estuary, Vasse-Geographe waterways, Hardy Inlet, Wilson Inlet, Torbay Inlet and Oyster Harbour.