News Feature | January 29, 2016

Ozone: Best Practice For Fighting Algae?

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

algaeonerie.reg

Water experts in algae-prone areas are rallying behind ozone treatment as the top way to fend off algae toxins.

Michael Beazley, administrator in the city of Oregon, OH, says it is a preferred treatment method in his municipality.

“Ozone treatment is really the emerging, best practice to deal with surface water,” Beazley said, per The Toledo Blade.

Doug Wagner, superintendent of water treatment, emphasized the effectiveness of ozone for fending off algae toxins.

“Once you get ozone added into the treatment, you’re going to eliminate any chance of microcystin getting into the tap water,” he said, per the report. “[The algae problem] isn’t going to go away, so we’re going to hit it head-on.”

Oregon came to these conclusions after a good bit of research. The plant ran a pilot program for five months last year, treating four gallons of water per minute with ozonation. The pilot project included a contact chamber and a biological filter.

“It was like a microplant,” Wagner said, per the report. “We had four columns that had different filter profiles in each one to put the ozonated water through to see which one would grow the best bacteria that would consume the organics in the water.”

Officials say the new system will reduce chlorine levels in the drinking water. They should have the new processes in place in 2017. Officials argued that ozone produces fewer disinfection byproducts, known as trihalomethanes. The EPA notes that ozone is one of the strongest disinfectants available for drinking water treatment.

Oregon officials were spurred to action by Toledo’s algae crisis two years ago, when around 400,000 residents were unable to use their water for over two days due to toxic algae contamination, according to CNN. Oregon was not part of the Toledo ban, but it also draws water from Lake Erie.

“The city’s water intake is in Lake Erie, but it is separate from Toledo’s. When lake water reaches the Oregon’s treatment plant, ozone combines with electricity to break up any organic contaminants in the water into smaller pieces. What’s left goes through biological filtration. The system kills algae-related toxins in about eight-tenths of a second,” The Blade reported.

For similar stories, visit Water Online’s Drinking Water Disinfection Solutions Center.

Image credit: "Solitude," Sylvia Schade © 2008, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/