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Algae Control

Algae (especially blue green algae) present several problems to drinking water plants including taste and odor problems, an increase in raw water TOC content, daily swings in raw water pHs, and increased filtered turbidities or headloss development. Methods for controlling algae fall into three classes:

  • Removal methods:  Research has demonstrated the feasibility of removing intact algae cells (without cell wall destruction) via coagulation and sedimentation.  Factors favoring removal include the use of sufficient coagulant to insure charge-neutralization, large floc volume fraction and large floc size.
  • Environmental control:  These methods limit the growth of algae by controlling specific environmental factors. Commonly used methods include:  a) limiting algae’s intake of ortho-phosphate (typically its limiting nutrient) by precipitative removal with alum and b) forced circulation of the reservoir to promote competitive metabolism between “good” and “bad” algae types.
  • Destructive methods:  These methods aim to destroy the algae.  Specific techniques include the use of algaecides (e.g. copper sulfate), strong disinfectants (e.g. ozone, permanganate, and chloramines) and ultrasonic cell disruptors.
  • In addition to straight copper sulfate, Aqua-Ox® has been utilized for this application.  Factors to be considered when determining the dosage for Aqua-Ox® include water hardness and temperature, the type and amount of vegetation to be controlled, and the plant flow rate. Typical feed rates would deliver 2-8 ppm liquid copper sulfate, or the equivalent of 0.5-2.0 ppm copper sulfate salt.  At the proper dosage, all of the copper is consumed by the algae, leaving virtually no residual in the exit water. Monitoring copper residuals is a useful method for optimizing the algaecide dosage.
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