In May 2018, Erizon’s team of environmental experts met with Flinders Power to discuss a working solution for their dust suppression and revegetation concerns associated with their Port Augusta ash dam.
During the site visit, the team thoroughly examined both the ash dam and nearby borrow pits via drone mapping and site surveying. A substantial number of soil samples were also taken and sent off for comprehensive analysis. The results indicated that the substrate profile was not suitable to support productive plant life, with very high salinity levels detected in the soil. This became a critical factor in the failure to germinate and establish vegetation.
Erizon recommended a non-toxic environmentally friendly dust suppressant for short-term dust control but suggested that vegetation cover was the only long-term sustainable solution for the ash dam and borrow pit.
Based on the results of the soil testing and the previous efforts to revegetate the site, the project was deemed challenging and Erizon explored many potential options. A solution was designed for the site. This included a tailored short-term dust suppression solution to contain the high-risk topsoil dust. Alongside this, a soil amelioration plan was developed, with the aim to allow for long-term vegetation growth.
The recommended program included the following:
• HydroBond – Dust Suppression for Revegetation
• AgCalcium Boost – Displaces salt and sodium from the seed zone
In September 2017, Erizon provided a trial for the HydroBond and AgCalcium Boost solution to be tested on an area of the dam, measuring 2,500m². The trial depicted various conditions that were displaced throughout the 180 hectare ash dam and the site was monitored 24/7 to gain an understanding of the environmental variables.
After a successful trial period of nine months, Erizon was given the task to continue using the tailored HydroBond solution on the remainder of the high-risk areas, covering 180 hectares of the property.
The foundation of the recommended solution consisted of HydroBond, designed to effectively suppress dust while promoting faster germination and providing added seed protection.
Formulated using a specialist blend of polymers, water, and proprietary additives to form a stable biodegradable crust once applied to the soil, HydroBond is permeable to both air and water, allowing for effective germination and seeding.
Together with HydroBond, AgCalcium Boost was incorporated into the tailored solution to compensate for the high levels of salinity in the substrate. The calcium ameliorants counterbalanced the adverse effects that the sodium salts were placing on the seeds by naturally displacing the salts away from the seed zone, therefore providing a greater chance for vegetation growth.
After the successful results of the nine-month trial, Erizon mobilised to the Flinders Power site on the 26th of September 2018 for the application of the HydroBond and AgCalcium Boost solution to 150 hectares of the Port Augusta ash dam. Works commenced the following day, and were completed on the 6th of October – spanning just ten days from start to finish.
Upon site mobilisation, Erizon’s purpose-built HydroRigs were prepared with the HydroBond and AgCalcium Boost solution. The built-in agitators constantly mixed the solution to allow for an even hydraulic application of the solution onto the ash dam substrate. Following the initial site evaluation and changing ground conditions, a higher concentration of the tailored HydroBond solution was applied to access roads and cultivated areas. The solution was dispersed at a rate of 350 litres per hectare.
As per the client’s request, an eight-month guarantee on the HydroBond and AgCalcium Boost solution was provided and commenced from the 4th of October 2018.
• Over the duration of the project cycle, strong winds posed difficulties in the application of the solution. A strategic approach was undertaken to minimise the loss of HydroBond through wind drift and to ensure that the project remained on track with the schedule.
• Due to the small-scale access roads, there were some constraints placed on the team regarding the safe and effective manoeuvring of the equipment into logistical application positions. The team ensured that the correct hazard assessments were measured and workplace safety procedures were in place.
The objective of this project was to suppress topsoil dust while providing an amendment to the highly saline soil.
Over the eight-month guarantee period, dust resistance, surface crust integrity, and weather conditions were monitored on a monthly basis. Erizon was able to provide a solution that met the client’s goals by providing a solution that was significantly more effective than anticipated. The client was pleased with the overall outcome.
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