Home > Early Warning System for Cyanobacteria

Early Warning System for Cyanobacteria

Project Number # 1123

Developing Guidance for Assessment and Evaluation of Harmful Algal Blooms, and Implementation of Control Strategies in Source Water

Are you logged in? If you are from a WaterRA member organisation, you can access a wider range of content for this and other projects by registering and logging in, using the panel on the right.

Utility managers facing either routine or intermittent cyanobacteria blooms must be equipped to remove nuisance metabolites (i.e. cyanotoxins, MIB, geosmin) within the drinking water treatment process. In some cases, a source water control strategy may be implemented to inhibit the growth of planktonic or benthic cyanobacteria before generating these metabolites. Early detection of cyanobacteria events is critical to apply a proactive source water control treatment strategy. However, early warning systems are abundant in the literature but have not transferred well into practice, with efficiency rates stated of only 53%. With such poor early detection of these events, utilities are often faced with a reactive approach for source water treatment and control. Many different source water control strategies exist (e.g. algaecides, sonication, mixing, nutrient removal) and information is predominantly from manufacturers without sufficient peer review of the recommendations. This creates significant risk to the utility desiring to invest in a treatment system for a reservoir with an algaecide (or cyanocide). The risk of applying large quantities of chemical into a surface supply also requires regulatory approval. In addition, improved methods are needed to measure how these chemical treatments are working in the field. Currently, guidance for assessment and management of harmful algal blooms in source waters is based upon utility experience, manufacturer specifications, and either peer-reviewed or gray-literature.