For decades, marinas and fuel docks around the world have used dish soap to address minor fuel spills. As part of an ongoing focus on better environmental stewardship, Marina Ibiza in Spain is testing a device that uses a product deemed safe for the water and marine life. It’s the first facility in Spain to use this device, too.
The device is Bio-Box, purposely created to address water contamination. It sits near the fuel dock at the marina. It’s further in an area where easterly winds allow spills and dirt to accumulate, even with yachts moving and the current. Containing a hose running to the water, Bio-Box drips enzyme- and bacteria-containing microorganisms into the water at a set frequency. Simultaneously, an air pump introduces oxygen into the water, activating the bacteria. The bacteria, dormant on land and rated safe for humans and marine life, feed on the fuel’s hydrocarbons and oxygen. According to Marina Ibiza, the microorganisms generate a foam when they activate. The foam gradually disappears, and the water clears, without fuel or oil remaining.
“The enzymes are responsible for breaking down the molecular chain (in this case, the hydrocarbon enzymes) by making them smaller,” notes Mirko Abbruzzese, co-founder of La Alternativa Eco. His company is collaborating with Marina Ibiza as a promoter of Bio-Box in Spain. “The bacteria can digest them by transforming them into CO2 and clean water, without leaving residues.” Furthermore, Bio-Box relies on solar panels for its operations.
“There’s a widespread belief in the yachting industry that the right thing to do in the event of a spill is to throw a popular washing-up liquid into the water because it has a dispersing effect,” Abbruzzese continues. “But, this product is harmful to marine flora and fauna, and has a long-lasting effect on the marine environment.”
The marina will monitor the release of the microorganisms and the results on the surrounding waters.
Marina Ibiza marinaibiza.com