Float into our blog series on Algae and Aquatic Plant Control!

Algae BoomWe’re excited to announce our new blog series on aquatic plant control! Aquatic plants are an important part of the ecosystem, however invasive and non-native plants can impair water systems and impact fish and wildlife habitats, conservation efforts, marine navigation, recreation, tourism, irrigation, energy, and drinking water.

Over the course of the next several weeks, there will be four unique posts covering invasive freshwater plants, algal blooms and seaweed control in saltwater and freshwater environments. We will discuss each of the following topics:

·       Blue-green algae
·       Sargassum
·       Water hyacinth
·       Duck weed

How do you control these inconvenient organisms? Blue-green algae, sargassum, water hyacinth, and duckweed are all types plants/algae which typically float on, or near, the surface of a water body. GEI Works manufacturers the Orion Aquatic Weed Control Boom to contain, deflect, or exclude aquatic plants in a variety of water bodies and conditions. Our Orion Aquatic Plant Control Boom is treated with algaecide and can be customized for temporary, long term, or permanent applications for seasonal algae blooms or long term aquatic plant control. Need a solution for your floating plants or algae? Contact a floating barrier specialist at GEI Works at 772-646-0597 or visit our website.

Let’s get social! Stay connected with us on social media. Follow GEI Works on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube with the links in the right-hand sidebar, and be sure to check in next week for the first installment of our Aquatic Plant Blog Series on blue-green algae!

Agricultural Water Trailers: "Water you waiting for?"

The Argo Water Trailer by GEI Works is often known for its dust suppression, firefighting, and liquid transport capabilities. Water trailers can function on construction sites, farms, and arenas by fitting the appropriate hose, nozzle and spray bar to a polyethylene tank, and while the water trailer excels at these tasks, the agricultural industry has popularized water trailers for the following seven uses:
Argo Water Trailer Spray Bar
1.    Mash spreading – Corn mash can be loaded into our water trailers with the addition of a few modifications to the pumping system of the water trailer. This mash can then be delivered to various locations and used as livestock feed. Often, this makes use of a common byproduct of distilleries.

2.     Pesticide application – Pesticides can be mixed into the water supply in the tank then sprayed onto the applicable crops. While there are often larger scale methods of accomplishing this, using a water trailer offers a more flexible method of application, along with the mobility of water transport.

3.     Odor suppression – With the use of certain organic cleaners, Argo Water Trailers can be optimized to eliminate odors on livestock and agricultural farms. It can be as simple as including a concentrated organic cleaner in the water reservoir of the trailer and applying it to a designated area.

4.     Biofertilization – As part of organic farming methods, biofertilization of crops is on the rise. Blue-green algae biofertilizer can pumped out of our water trailer in a similar fashion as a hydroseeding application, then distributed onto applicable crop fields for enriching the available nutrient levels
Hydroseeding and biofertilization capabilities
5.    Hydroseeding – Hydroseeding decreases erosion and enriches the soil by distributing a mixture of seed, fertilizer, and mulch. Often used to prevent soil erosion, hydroseeding mixtures can be applied to fields and hillsides to prevent the erosion of cropland from water and wind.

6.   Livestock watering – Livestock watering is one of the simplest, but most important application for Argo trailers in the agricultural industry. Each water trailer comes standard with the capability of containing potable drinking water and, because of its mobility, can deliver this water to a location on-demand.
Orange grove icing
7.     Crop protection –Water trailers can be used for crop protection in the winter. In Florida, for example, farmers will spray down orange trees if the temperature will reach freezing that night. Crop icing isn’t limited to just oranges, however, as mangoes, avocados, strawberries, limes, and even corn can survive frost and freezing temperatures through the icing process. Read more here.

The agricultural industry is as vast as it is varied, and GEI Works strives to meet or exceed the needs of farmers and livestock owners. To learn more about product solutions by GEI Works, check out our  Water Trailers, Livestock Troughs, or CitrusTubs.

What is the Purpose of the Ballast Chain in a Floating Barrier?

The ballast chain, when needed, is located along the bottom ‘hem’ or seam of a turbidity curtain or containment boom.   It comes in various materials and weights depending on conditions of the site where the silt curtain or marine boom will be deployed.   (See Fig A)
A floating barrier with a skirt which hangs below the surface of the water is designed to contain, separate, act as a barrier for surface debris or suspended particulate matter.  Much like hanging laundry on a clothesline, the underwater fabric will ‘billow’ in currents, swells, and tides.  In fact, they are an engineered design built to work under just these conditions. The ocean, as a living, moving, entity will create forces that continually and continuously act on the boom or barrier under the water, and the ballast chain helps to decrease the billowing angle by providing some counter-weight.
The purpose of the ballast chain is to offset or mitigate some of the billowing of the curtain without stopping it altogether.  Trying to hold billowing fabric completely vertical in a heaving ocean would tear it apart if it were even possible to do so.  In fact, billowing and  ‘scalloping’ of the curtain are taken into design consideration based on the selection criteria our GEI Works technical advisors use when helping clients with their site-specific solutions.  Scalloping allows for the additional length of curtain or boom to account for the pockets needed in higher current conditions.  (See Fig. B)   Ballast chain, generally weighs between .65 lbs/ft (1/4” chain) and 1 lbs/ft (5/16” chain) is most often hot-dipped galvanized steel, or can be upgraded to stainless steel for salt-water or long-term products. 
On boom, the ballast chain is designed so that the curtain hangs just below the floatation cells so contained (or detained) matter stays at the surface.  On turbidity curtain, longer skirts hang below the water, and the ballast chains at the bottom edge help reduce the chance that the skirt will billow completely, act like a sail, or float to the surface.  Ballast chains are designed to keep the silt curtain ‘mostly vertical,' and not completely vertical.  The ‘mostly vertical’ face is sufficient for the curtain to function as intended in all but extreme circumstances.    

The assumption is often that the ballast chain will hold the curtain skirt (the area below the waterline) completely, even rigidly, vertical in the water.  However, this does not take into consideration hydrodynamic forces on a curtain when underwater or the fact that neither a boom nor a curtain is designed to function in this manner.  The ballast chain does not act as an anchor to hold the curtain or boom in place either vertically or in position relative to shore or anchors.  The ballast chain is not meant to be utilized as a tension member, and it is not intended to be used as a connection point for other tension components such as anchor lines. As it does not act as an anchor to keep the barrier stationary – auxiliary anchoring is required.  (To find out more about anchoring, visit our Turbidity Curtain and Boom Accessories page).
Have questions about boom or turbidity curtain? Please don’t hesitate to contact GEI Works for your next project. Call us at +1-772-646-0597.