Project Number # 1123
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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.
This project (also known as Water Research Foundation #4912) will review available published information, survey utilities regarding practice, evaluate existing and innovative technologies for monitoring and treatment, and synthesize this information into a guidance document and create decision trees for utility managers. The project approach consists of four (4) tasks:
The project will be led by an international team experienced with performing research studies on cyanobacteria and generating utility guidance, including:
Utility support letters have been provided from utilities across the United States, Canada, and Australia. These utilities were selected based on their experience with early warning systems and source water control strategies and/or have expressed interest in the innovative research areas proposed in this project (i.e. ATP monitoring, and control of benthic cyanobacteria).
This project is part of our Algal Innovation Community of Interest
Please see the open access scientific papers from this project within the following publications: