Biological Barriers

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Many major water based sporting events have been held on Strathclyde Loch over the years. For example:

In 2007 the World Rowing Under 23 Championships were all held within the park, along with the 2005 Glasgow Special Olympics and the 2006 Scottish Triathlon Championships.

However, many other events over the years have needed to be cancelled due to poor water quality issues. 

The Loch is fed solely by the South Calder before ‘over spilling’ into the Clyde. In times of high rainfall an upstream Scottish WTW discharges contaminated water containing high levels of, among other bacterium, Escherichia coli (also called E. coli). Cyanobacteria (blue green algae) can also be an issue during the summer months due to the Lochs high phosphate levels.

The threat of E. coli contamination and seasonal algae blooms during the 2014 Commonwealth Games at the Triathlon site prompted the need for a solution to be found.

In March 2013 AquaticEngineering were approached by a number of contractors and consultants to assist in developing a barrier to divide the artificial Strathclyde Loch in preparation for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. 

Traditional partitioning systems such as sheet piling were ruled out as the man-made clay Loch bed could not be penetrated or compromised in any way due to the site being formerly used for landfill and other industrial purposes.

After much consultation followed by the project going out to tender, AquaticEngineering were selected as the preferred main contractor in August 2013

In partnership with SLR Consulting, AquaticEngineering designed and began the fabrication of 4 x 6m deep biological barriers totalling over 1.2km in length.

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Although the effectiveness of the installation was not visually apparent, the data collected could not lie, it amply demonstrated time again through stringent water quality monitoring.

As noted: “Now that the three Triathlon events are behind us I just wanted to put on record my thanks to all of you for the help and guidance that you have given in the long journey to the Commonwealth Games. It is fair to say that the water quality project was an outstanding success with sustained ITU water quality for many months and throughout the Games period.” 

“Commentators during the event mentioned the sparkling water and the efforts that the organisers put into it and the athletes themselves clearly revelled in it. I noticed that there were very few, if any, comments on the barriers. They just became part of the landscape. We all know how important a function they had…”