Swimmer’s Urine Caused Mass-Death of Fish in German Lake

 

The mass death of fish in a lake near Hamburg has been blamed on swimmers’ urine causing an algal bloom that has poisoned the water.

Around 500 dead fish have been found in the picturesque Eichbaum lake near the northern port city, which attracts bathers in the summery weather. But now it seems those pleasure-seekers have blood on their hands.

“Swimmers who urinate in the lake are introducing a lot of phosphate,” Manfred Siedler, spokesman for the Hamburger Angling Association (ASV), told Bild newspaper. “We’re calculating half a litre of urine per swimmer per day.”

Phosphate contributes to a build-up of blue-green algae in the water, playing havoc with the lake’s eco-system and apparently poisoning the fish. According to Bild, authorities have already tipped some 148 tonnes of anti-phosphate agent Bentophos into the water, at a cost of €516,000, but to little effect.

The Local understands that there has also been a longstanding feud between the anglers and the bathers over the lake.

Bathers are currently banned from the lake due to the high levels of algae, but the city’s Urban Development and Environment Authority (BSU) is working to fight it and re-open the lake.

The BSU believes that the fish deaths are not particularly unusual, and have been caused by a combination of natural causes and ice-skaters, rather than pee.

“The ice-skaters make a noise that wakes the fish out of hibernation,” BSU spokeswoman Kerstin Graupner told the Local.

“Then they can’t breathe and freeze. That’s a very common phenomenon.”

She underlined that though the fish have only been found in the past two weeks, they must have been dead for some time, judging by the decomposition.

BSU has since called in Hamburg University to test the pee-death theory, and says that apart from the high level of algae, the water is clean. “It is very rich in fish,” Graupner added.

But according to Bild, the first water tests are not encouraging – with a pH level of 8.7 (as opposed to the neutral 7), the lake is very alkaline.

Scientists have reportedly also found anabaena algae blooms, unusual at this time of year, which produce anatoxin-a. This causes the lake’s ammonium to change into the poisonous ammonia, which restricts the fish’s breathing.

 

Generating Power from Pig Feces

 

China’s love of pork presents a mountain of a problem for the environment, 1.4 million metric tons (1.5 million tons) of pig poo a year to be precise, but an Australian company believes it has part of the answer.

Why not turn the pig poo into power?

Using a bioreactor called “PooCareTM” and other technology, the pig manure is converted into biofuel for cooking and heating while the residual goes to farmers as nutrient-rich fertilizers.

“The benefits are energy and fuel for farmers as well as preventing further contamination of the environment,” said Ravi Naidu, chief scientist at CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC Care), a South Australian-based firm involved in drawing up the technology.

“So it’s really a green technology from that perspective,” Naidu, a University of South Australia professor, told Reuters.

The process involves a bioreactor 30 m (98 ft) long, 10 m (33 ft) high and 4 m (13 ft) wide. It is set below ground and waste is fed through it slowly at a pre-determined temperature.

This converts solid waste into a biogas that is then pumped through gas tanks that can be delivered to the local community. The entire process takes about a month, with the first biogenerator already running at a farm in Wuhan, central China.

China has an estimated 700 million pigs, producing some two-thirds of the meat consumed there annually, so the scale of the problem can’t be underestimated.

Only one tenth of pig waste is used now as manure. It is estimated the nutrients lost in the waste of one pig alone are worth about A$50 ($52) per year. There is a vast disparity in rural and urban incomes with farmers earning around $75 per month.

The potential health hazards are worse.

“Pig waste contains a high level of nitrate, which in liquid form can contaminate ground water and in flake form can contaminate lakes, posing human health risks,” Naidu said.

Chinese scientists and Hong Kong-based technology firm HLM Asia Ltd also took part in developing the technology, which costs roughly A$35,000 ($36,400) for one bioreactor. Mass production would bring costs down, Naidu said.

http://news.yahoo.com/pig-poo-power-answer-chinas-porky-poser-053248474–finance.html