8 December 2022

Breakthrough wastewater treatment pioneers RegenAqua have won the coveted Reef Champions Conservation Award at the 2022 Reef Champion Awards, held in Cairns last week.

The awards were hosted by the Queensland Farmers’ Federation with support from the Queensland state and Federal governments, and are a celebration of the individuals and organisations who work to improve the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef.

Pacific Bio CEO, Sam Bastounas, proudly accepted the award for the Conservation category, recognising the outstanding work RegenAqua are doing in rehabilitation and restoration projects to improve the environment and quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef catchment.

Bastounas says, “It is an honour to have our innovative technology recognised by the peak industry body, Queensland Farmers’ Federation, in this manner. Our vision is to deploy our low-cost, carbon-neutral and chemical-free technology throughout North Queensland, protecting our national treasure the Great Barrier Reef.”

This award comes off the back of the recent announcement by the Burdekin Shire Council that they are proceeding with a 4.5-hectare RegenAqua facility to further clean the water from their Ayr-Brandon sewerage treatment plant.

Scientifically developed over ten years at James Cook University, RegenAqua’s macroalgal bioremediation technology uses native Australian seaweed and macroalgae combined with sunlight to naturally remove contaminants such as phosphorus and nitrogen from municipal wastewater treatment plants, aquaculture farming, abattoirs and agriculture.

Australian of The Year and climate change scientist Professor Tim Flannery says, “RegenAqua truly deserves the 2022 Reef Conservation Champions Award. After climate change, nutrient run-off is the greatest challenge facing vulnerable sections of the reef. By using algae to clean up polluted water, as well as generating a bio-stimulant that cuts fertiliser use, it attacks the problem cost effectively, and at source.”

The judging criteria for the Reef Conservation Champion award included how the nominee implemented rehabilitation or restoration projects to improve the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef, as well as various other criteria.

The news of this award comes shortly after a recent report from the United Nations stating the Great Barrier Reef should be placed on a World Heritage “in danger” list.