Clearflow Products Save $2million in Pilot Environmental Protection Project, Picturesque Lake Simcoe
Updated: Sep 15
Clearflow Group, a manufacturer specializing in environmental protection, has partnered with Greenland Engineering on a government project to protect the waters of the beautiful Lake Simcoe. A $500,000 federal grant was provided by the Canadian government for the pilot scheme, created to reduce the impact of construction activity on marine life within the lake and its surrounding environment.
The multi-million dollar Sleeping Lion development site was chosen for the test scheme due to its location as part of the Lake Simcoe watershed. The project was monitored over an 18-month period, analyzing the removal of TSS (Total Suspended Solids), pollutants and harmful nutrients that could otherwise negatively impact aquatic life in the area.
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Utilizing Clearflow’s innovative products, the project is expected to make a significant impact on future environmentally protective endeavours for watersheds. Results from the pilot scheme will be used to create a template of recommendations for other environmental projects in the area. This creation of a standardized process will increase efficiencies and allow for easy implementation of environmentally protective technologies by other local governments.
Tackling the Impact of Necessary Construction Activity on Marine Life
The 227-acre Sleeping Lion housing development began back in 2015 - a mix of single-detached houses, townhomes and commercial properties. The benefits of this development for the local area were sizeable; an estimated 4,500 people could reside in the community, and the development was expected to create 350 to 500 jobs. Undoubtedly an incredible asset for the area, however as with any construction project, not without its environmental impact.
New construction activity naturally disturbs the ground on which it takes place, exposing destabilized soil which then leads to increased erosion and levels of TSS (Total Suspended Solids). TSS can include a wide variety of materials - such as silt, industrial waste, and sewage - and high concentrations of this can cause many problems for water health and aquatic life.
The focus of this pilot was therefore to remove the increased rates of TSS using a new method - Advanced Sedimentation Technologies (ASTs). Traditionally, site seeding could be used to stabilize the soil - a planting process whereby the ground is seeded to hold soil particles in place. Another option would be utilizing the settling technique - using stormwater management ponds to remove the excess TSS from the water.
Unfortunately, most of these historical methods only remove particles above a certain size - 20 microns in diameter - and so other contaminants are missed, running downstream and continuing to cause a negative environmental impact.
One of these ultra-fine contaminants is phosphorus, and for Lake Simcoe an estimated 5 tonnes runs into it every single year just from stormwater management facilities alone. Phosphorus and other ultra-fine chemicals such as chloride are therefore major issues for the watershed and left unimpacted by current water clarification methods.
Protecting our Beautiful Lake with Innovative Water Cleansing Technology
Utilizing the settling method with the use of stormwater management ponds has previously resulted in the reduction of TSS levels by 80%. Clearflow’s patented Advanced Sedimentation Technologies and selection of water polishing products were to be used in this new scheme to improve the percentage of TSS reduction, by tackling the removal of finer phosphorus and chloride particles.
Clearflow’s Gel Flocculant Blocks were first installed on the development in storm sewer man-holes leading into the three stormwater management ponds that already existed on site. The blocks work to remove some metals, chemicals and nutrients from the water, thereby improving water clarification.
Treated Jute Fabric was also installed at Sleeping Lion - a natural fiber material that enhances surface soil stability by up to 95%, and at the same time binds small particles flowing over or through it. The fabric was infused with Clearflow’s Ultra-Bind product - which replaces traditional materials like sawdust, straw, and other adsorbents - to better reduce the mobility of contaminants.
Treated Jute Polishing Curtains were introduced as a final polishing step, installed in the storm ponds to remove ultra-fine TSS particulates. As water passes through the polishing curtains, they ensure the safe release of water back into the environment. Following the installation of these combined water clarification and polishing products, monitoring equipment was installed to measure the impact the instruments were having on the environment. Baseline samples were collected at the start of the project so that changes in the levels of TSS, phosphorus, and other potentially harmful particles could be analyzed.
Creating a Precedent for the Future Protection of Natural Habitats
Analysis of water quality from the test pilot project showed significant results from the use of Clearflow’s Advanced Sedimentation Technologies. The innovative products enhanced TSS and phosphorus removal to levels much higher than with previously used traditional techniques, with reductions of TSS increased from 80% up to a staggering 99%.
Without the Clearflow technology, based on these findings the developer would have been expected to pay approximately $2million in regulatory fines to the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) for the environmental damage caused by their construction site. If the $2million saved was reinvested into implementing these AST methods at further construction sites, approximately 15 years of products could be funded. Over the entire lifespan of the storm ponds, this would create colossal savings for the City of $9.6million.
Alongside the obvious and vast cost-saving benefit, the significant reduction in discolouration of stormwater and reduction in harmful algae caused by TSS and phosphorus also provides an aesthetic and potential health benefit to residents of the area. Therefore, the study at Sleeping Lion provides value to local residents, property developers, and the City itself too, and certainly sets an incredibly strong precedent for the use of Clearflow’s innovative technology in future construction projects.