Ecuador's airport achieves chemical-free algae control with MPC-Buoy
Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, Ecuador, faced significant challenges with algae growth, high pH levels, and environmental compliance in its water reservoir. Quiport Corporation, the airport’s concessionaire, sought an efficient and sustainable solution and found it in LG Sonic’s technology.
100% chemicals reduction
ultrasound eliminated the need for harmful algaecide
88% total solids reduction
improved water clarity enhances reservoir ecosystem health
significant reduction in chemical and labour operational costs
Algae, pH, and Odor
A 17-hectare rainwater reservoir located within Quito Airport’s premises has faced significant challenges due to climate change. These challenges included a rapid increase in algae growth, which negatively affected the water quality. The pH levels in the water often rose to nine or ten, breaching environmental regulations. Additionally, organic matter in the water caused an unpleasant odor and gave the water a greenish color.
In an effort to fight off the algae growth, the airport initially turned to the use of heavy machinery for physical removal and regularly applied chemical treatments, specifically algaecides. However, this solution proved to be both costly and labor-intensive due to the high frequency and large quantities of chemical application required.
Cost of chemicals
As algae started resisting the chemicals, the situation grew increasingly complex and costly. The resistance necessitated larger quantities of chemicals and more frequent applications. Additionally, frequent applications meant more time and resources spent on manual labor, contributing to increased expenses.
The heavy use of algaecides led to an accumulation of chemicals in the water, potentially causing harm to the local ecosystem. Over time, these chemical residues could disrupt the balance of the water body and impact the surrounding biodiversity.
Quiport Corporation, committed to sustainability, conducted an in-depth study on reservoir management. This research led them to LG Sonic’s innovative technology that controls algae growth in water bodies. Eager to adopt this new approach, Quiport installed LG Sonic’s MPC-Buoy at the airport in 2017.
LG Sonic’s technology dramatically improved water quality. The technology adjusts the frequency of ultrasound in order to catch up with the algae’s high adaptability. As a result, Maria Gabriela Landazuri, the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Manager at Quiport Corporation, said, “The system [MPC-Buoy] has made significant environmental improvements. We’ve reduced Total Solids by 88%, and even more impressively, we’ve completely eliminated algae concentrations in our water sample analysis.”
The decrease in chemical use in the reservoir plays a crucial role in preserving bird populations. The reservoir serves as a vital resting and refueling stop for a significant number of migratory birds on their long journeys.
By keeping the reservoir chemical-free, Quiport Corporation demonstrates its dedication to protecting habitats and promoting biodiversity, in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15. Quiport’s dedication has been acknowledged by the Global Compact Red Ecuador in the III Edition of the Recognition of Good Practices in Sustainable Development.
With LG Sonic’s technology, chemical use at the airport greatly decreased. Landazuri shared, “We’ve stopped using chemicals for algae control. It’s the equipment [MPC-Buoy] alone that’s doing all the work.” The ultrasonic system eliminated the need for harmful algaecides, leading to significant cost savings and a reduced environmental impact.
The autonomous solar-powered system also significantly reduced manual labor. With less need for physical treatments and chemicals, fewer workers were needed for algae removal and chemical application. The system requires minimal maintenance and operates remotely, revolutionizing Quiport’s water management approach to be both eco-friendly and labor-efficient. As a result of its effectiveness, the airport decided to upgrade the buoy with the latest components to ensure effective algae control for the coming years/future.
LG Sonic’s technology offered an innovative feature – real-time online water quality monitoring. This groundbreaking system allowed the airport to track water quality parameters remotely, providing invaluable insights into the reservoir’s condition. Real-time monitoring enabled the airport to proactively respond to potential issues, optimizing resources and maintaining top water quality standards.
Landazuri added, “This cutting-edge technology has been crucial in helping us follow environmental rules to the letter. It’s been key to our success in achieving the goals of our current Plan and our Airport Environmental Management Plan. It’s a modern, safe, and extremely useful tool that supports our dedication to environmental responsibility.”