Research and Development
Hydros Coastal Solutions, Inc. (HCS) is built upon a foundation of scientific integrity, innovation, and an unwavering desire to challenge the status quo and pioneer new techniques to resolve environmental threats.
The goal of HCS’ Scientific Division is to design and implement research programs that address ongoing environmental issues in coastal and environmental restoration, which include anthropogenic factors that cause or contribute to growing concerns such as coastal erosion, impaired water quality, ocean acidification, toxic algal blooms, and coral diseases.
Furthermore, in order to foster a better understanding of both local and global issues, we actively pursue and establish relationships and collaborations with fellow scientists and professionals in the private sector and at academic institutions and government agencies worldwide.
Ultimately, it is a willingness and ability to incorporate multiple scientific disciplines, to think “outside of the box”, and to question conventional wisdom while maintaining a strong scientific focus that sets Hydros Coastal Solutions apart as we continue to “Reinvent Coastal Restoration”.
New Technology Development
Modified ShoreLock™ Formulations
One of the advantages of ShoreLock™ Technology is an ability to incorporate active compounds within it to achieve a desired result.
Biological and chemical tracers are often used to simulate and monitor the behavior of chemicals and microorganisms in the environment. HCS scientists have incorporated specific, non-toxic fluorescent dyes and particles (including DNA tracer technologies) into ShoreLock™ that are not present in the background environment but which behave similarly to dangerous chemicals or organisms which may be present in sand or water following contamination events or sewage spills. Thus, by introducing modified ShoreLock™ into an experimental beach, our scientists and engineers can learn much about the fate and transport of dangerous chemicals and microorganisms in the coastal environment.
Antimicrobial Delivery Systems
Accidental spills, overflows, and unauthorized releases of sewage into waterways occur every day in the United States and worldwide. The remediation of contaminated waterways is usually achieved through flushing or dilution; however, bacteria released into sandy or soil environments often thrive and even multiply, which creates significant logistical issues with regard to environmental clean up options. Currently, one method of clean up and control of sewage spills involves the introduction of massive amounts of liquid chlorine into the beach, which creates several additional risks to public health, including inhalation and exposure concerns. In an effort to address this important issue, HCS scientists have incorporated various disinfectants into a special ShoreLock™ formulation that can be modified to more effectively control the dissemination and release of a desired disinfectant into the shoreline in order to maximize disinfection while minimizing negative impacts on environmental and human health.
The recent BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has brought to the forefront the dangers and far-reaching negative impacts that a massive oil spill can have on the marine and terrestrial environment. However, small and localized “spills” occur every day due to releases from personal and commercial watercraft, urban storm water outfalls, and even from sunscreens and tanning oils. In order to address the effects of these small scale “oil spills”, HCS scientists have incorporated mild emulsifiers and detergents into special formulations of ShoreLock™, which are effective in removing and dispersing small amounts of oils and hydrocarbons in contaminated sand and water.
Coral Disease Research and Restoration
Efforts are currently being conducted worldwide as a result of massive die-offs, which have been occurring since the 1960’s and which some scientists think will lead to complete global destruction in the next 20 years if restoration efforts do not continue. The reasons for the massive losses of coral reefs have been attributed to climate change, anthropogenic pollution, overfishing, and infectious disease. HCS scientists have developed novel methods of coral seascaping and are conducting research on the infectious causes and possible treatments of several coral diseases, which are believed to be linked to sewage associated organisms, particularly a specific strain of Serratia marcescens.
Offshore submerged breakwaters reduce the intensity of wave action in inshore waters and thereby can “reduce” or “help mitigate” coastal erosion. When oncoming waves hit breakwaters, their erosive power is dissipated by these structures, which are some distance away from the coast. Under normal conditions this creates an area of slack water between the breakwaters and the coast. Sediment deposition can thus occur in these waters and beaches can be built up. Breakwaters do impact longshore drift and sediment transport, do not adapt naturally to seal level rise, are susceptible to overtopping by storms, and if made with cement, rocks, and/or large boulders do not aesthetically enhance a shoreline. Since breakwaters become permanent part of the landscape they must not only be carefully designed, but also very carefully analyzed for its effects on the physical and ecological system in which it is to be placed. In most nearshore environments living corals that are now mostly extinct, have historically had a significant role protecting shorelines from the erosive power of wave energy. HCS is developing a more natural alternative to traditional breakwater structures comprised of living corals. For more information read our News Blog: Hydros joins forces with Living Breakwater Technology – June 2012.