Freshwater bryozoans (plumatella)

Our rural water quality treatment program targeting plumatella.

Plumatella is a type of bryozoan found in oceans, lakes and streams. Bryozoans are microscopic aquatic invertebrates that live in colonies. Most colonies are attached to a structure – such as a rock or submerged branch.

While important in natural freshwater environments, such as the Murray River, plumatella can block pipes and filters in irrigation systems.

Plumatella treatment program

Following a 10-week water quality treatment trial targeting plumatella in the Merbein, Red Cliffs C Sub and Mildura Benetook irrigation systems in 2019, we have adopted an ongoing treatment program.

Low levels of hydrogen peroxide are dosed to target the colonisation of plumatella early in the irrigation season. Hydrogen peroxide has proven effective in managing plumatella. Its application does not impact customers. It’s used in farming practices to maintain irrigation systems, while providing oxygen to soil and plants.

Water supply is not disrupted during the treatment. This treatment does not make the water safe to drink. Rural water supply can only be used for irrigation and domestic and stock purposes.

For more information about plumatella, see Water Research Australia’s fact sheet Bryozoans in Freshwater: Science and Management.

For information about this water quality treatment program, contact us.