Keeping a City’s wastewater treatment lagoon safe from harmful algae

Blue-green and green algae were choking a major lagoon in one Ontario city. Ultrasound helped where chemicals could not.

Though algae can pose aesthetic concerns and are generally a nuisance, its presence in key water resources can be more than just visually disturbing.

Such was the case in the Canadian province of Ontario, where out-of-control blue-green and green algae in a key supply lagoon were causing an excess of dangerous effluent, and more total suspended solids (TSS) than the filtration system could handle.

The Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks needed to act quickly to control this harmful growth, which was already causing measurements to spike beyond the regulated limits of Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA), the Canadian version of the U.S. EPA. The growth also was overwhelming the Submerged Attached Growth Reactor (SAGR) disc filter, which was unable to keep up.

An ultrasonic solution restores a safe environment

The city of Sundridge – where the clogged lagoon was located – sought a timely and environmentally safe solution to its algae problems. WaterIQ Technologies recommended a floating ultrasonic treatment solution that could answer the call. When it was activated in mid-August – at the height of summer – the estimated count of cyanobacterial cells (a technical term for Algae growth) topped 2,000,000. 

After just 30 days of reliable operation, the ultrasonic raft reduced that count to 4,420 – a 500-time reduction – and at the two-month mark, just 1,600 cells were counted.

Schaffer commissioned a 90-day trial of the ultrasound technology in one reservoir; next door in reservoir No. 2, he used traditional copper sulfate treatment as a control. It was quickly apparent that the ultrasonic raft was just as effective in controlling the algae as copper sulfate, leaving the ultrasound-treated reservoir cleaner than it ever had been.

Though there are some species of algae blooms that are unaffected by ultrasound – these include Chlorophyceae (Chlamydomonas sp) and Cyanophyceae (Pseudanabaena sp.) – the amount is negligible when considering that ultrasonic technology can treat more than 2 million individual species.

Ultrasound technology delivers a 500X reduction in cyanobacterial cell count

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