• System to extract and filter mud from Mar Menor, re-used as agricultural compost and fertiliser

THE Mar Menor has received a much welcome boost with a system to extract and filter mud from the troubled polluted salty lagoon.

UPCT graduate Antonio Martínez Segado has patented a system to extract and filter mud from the Mar Menor, re-used as agricultural compost and fertiliser.

Tests have been undertaken on the Integral System for Suction of Water Materials (SISMA) patented in Industrial Technologies from the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT).

“It can help improve the state of the Mar Menor and the comfort of bathers, removing mud without damaging the seabed – filtering it for later reuse as fertiliser,” said Antonio Martínez Segado.

“The system contains a floating device with a suction pump, sucking up mud, in suspension of mixers that propel pressurised water, and propel it towards the shore of the beach,” he said.

Once in the filtering system the mud remains in a mesh and the water and healthy sand are recirculated to the sea.

The process was tested on a beach in Los Alcázares and tests have also been carried out in reservoirs.

Collected sludge was reused as manure and fertiliser, with previous thermal treatments to eliminate toxins, in experimental lettuce crops carried out in the Cartagena field.

Without oxygen, organisms in bodies of water in the Mar Menor, can no longer live, with a disaster in October 2019.

It was announced earlier this year the Mar Menor faced a new environmental catastrophe, amid periods of heavy rainfall, along with the current high summer temperatures, leading to increased nitrate levels in water entering into the lagoon from fields on the Campo de Cartagena.

The Mar Menor, famous for the lagoon’s clear and safe waters, has seen rapid concerns in recent years, with the condition of the water having significantly deteriorated, due to pollution.

In 2017, all the Mar Menor beaches lost their Blue Flag status, due to the polluted water conditions, underlined with 4.5 tons of dead fish washed up on the shoreline caused by nutrients from agricultural fertilisers.

In May it was announced six thousand tonnes of seaweed was removed since the beginning of the year.

Speaking of the system to extract and filter mud from the Mar Menor, Martinez Segado, a former student of the degree in Industrial Technology Engineering at UPCT, said: “The results were excellent.”

Justo González Manager of Cartagena based company MC Hidráulica who helped developing the system, said: “It is valid for operating in all types of lakes, reservoirs and ponds, even on the shores of seas and rivers.”

Martínez Segado added: “We are looking at the possibility of using it in lagoons in the Valencian Community, that have similar problems.”

Caption: System to extract and filter mud from Mar Menor. Photo: UPCT.