Bubble curtain stops plastic litter and weeds whilst improving water quality

Merchant Square, London

Merchant Square, London

Managing the spread of aquatic weed and plastic waste can be a significant challenge in lakes, canals, and rivers.

This story shows how Bubble Tubing® can be used with great effect to preserve the health and the amenity value of water by halting the spread of weed and litter.

Merchant Square, London, is an 11 acre, fully managed mixed use estate in London’s West End that is currently occupied by nearly 10,000 workers and residents.

The dedicated on-site Merchant Square team who manage the estate also oversee an annual events programme, involving summer events during lunchtimes, charity events, food markets and much more.

Providing a central feature of the lively mix of bars, restaurants and businesses in Merchant Square is Paddington Basin, a short branch of the Regent’s Canal.


Bubble Tubing underwater Bubble Tubing aerating water Bubble Tubing in 3 sizes lockable sound proof compressor cabinets used for bubble tubing
Bubble Tubing comes with a 5 year warranty and is sold in 3 different sizes

Keeping the water clear of plastic waste and problem plants like duckweed is a constant challenge that entails high operational costs. Duckweed in particular is able to replicate at alarming rates completely covering the water, reducing oxygen levels and depleting biodiversity. The weed can be unsightly too, trapping wind blown litter and causing odour problems as it degrades.

Bubble Tubing was selected to create a series of bubble curtains across the width of the canal to prevent litter and duckweed travelling along the basin and detracting from the amenity value of this high-profile mixed-use development.

Bubble Tubing is a flexible linear aerator that sits on the bed and produces millions of micro-bubbles that rise all the way to the surface. The lines of Bubble Tubing create bubble curtains that prevent litter and weed from moving past the barrier.

4 lines of Bubble Tubing® have been deployed in Paddington Basin. Compressed air is fed to the Bubble Tubing® by a silenced compressor housed within a secure cabinet on the offside of the canal.

A significant advantage of bubble curtains over a physical barrier is that they allow for the free movement of boats at all times whilst still forming an effective barrier.

Bubble curtains have many uses including managing silt plumes, underwater noise & vibration attenuation and preventing silt and debris build up in front of marina entrances and lock gates. Debris build up can easily damage lock gates and seals, which can lead to costly maintenance.

Other advantages of using Bubble Tubing ® include:

  • Bubble curtains create low maintenance and cost effective barriers
  • Bubble Tubing® comes with a 5-year warranty
  • Bubble curtains help improve water quality by adding oxygen
  • They have a low visual and acoustic impact with silenced compressors
  • They can reduce silt build up by allowing aerobic bacteria to digest organic components
  • Easy to deploy and re-position if required