A-POD HAB Trap and Removal Process – an online presentation given on March 23, 2021 by Jonathan B. Higgins of Higgins Environmental Associates, Inc.
This presentation summarizes ongoing field results for this National Science Foundation (NSF) funded technology called the A-Pod HAB Trap and Removal Process. This is a recently patented (U.S. Patent No. 10,745,879), ecological restoration technology for targeting, containing, and removing HABs, their toxins, excess nutrients, and their total organic carbon content from surface water and sediment. It is primarily a physical separation, containment and concentration process combined with removal of the “trapped” HABs using natural polymers. The A-Pod HAB Trap and Removal Process is an eco-sensitive, user-controlled, removal process. The removal process has been documented to not release HAB toxins.
A-Pod proof of concept results have documented: 1) rapid removal of HAB mass and toxins; 2) a reduction in “internal load” total phosphorus content in sediment; and, 3) a reduction of the total phosphorus content of the HABs themselves (from initial luxury uptake concentrations to growth limited). Water quality metrics improve as HABs are removed. Stress to aquatic-dependent biota have not been observed or anticipated based on the eco-sensitive nature of this user-controlled removal and mitigation process. Rapid removal of HABs and the internal nutrient or legacy load from water bodies with this technology is a sustainable way to limit future HAB events or impacts, and also aids in identification of remaining external nutrient source(s).
Our NSF funded research is ongoing. We are looking for additional field trial locations to test out various aspects of this technology including with different types of HABs, sensitive receptors, water bodies and sediment types. The NSF grant also includes identification and verification of the analytical characteristics and beneficial reuse options for recovered HABs. We have documented that recovered HABs are suitable for production of biocrude/biofuel, and as a natural fertilizer to improve soil health, water quality and carbon sequestration.