Counter the proliferation of blue-green algae with ultrasonic solutions
It is estimated that approximately 30 to 48 million Americans obtain their drinking water from lakes and reservoirs that may periodically become contaminated with algal toxins. Unfortunately, boiling water contaminated with harmful algal bloom (HAB) does not eliminate toxins, but rather increases concentration levels, according to the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC).
The NRDC also notes that the economic toll of HABs in the United States has yet to be fully assessed, with estimates suggesting the cost of managing freshwater blooms is $4.6 billion per year. . These events often negatively impact local economies, as persistent algal blooms typically cost millions in lost tourist revenue, while negatively impacting residential water supplies.
Biologically speaking, the film of blue algae – also called cyanobacteria – is literally the definition of scum, and for good reason. As cyanobacteria increase in spring and summer in tens of thousands of lakes, reservoirs, ponds, and managed sewage deposits, cities and utilities are under pressure to put in place measures that mitigate this problem.
After decades of trial and error, it is now known that chemicals used to treat algal blooms can be detrimental to wildlife and algal variants. But if it’s not chemicals, then what? Untreated, seaweed poses health threats, infrastructure damage, declining property values, and the end of income-generating recreational activities. To understand alternatives to chemical treatment, a basic understanding of the factors that cause algae to thrive is important.
What makes algae thrive?
Algae need sunlight and nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen to grow.
The main sources of nutrients are agricultural fertilizer runoff, over-fertilization of lawns, phosphate-based detergents and surfactants, and overuse of algaecides (particularly copper sulfate). The latter isn’t intuitively obvious until you realize that the overuse of copper causes the death not only of algae, but also of the beneficial good bacteria that are needed to help remove the excess phosphates that stimulate the growth of algae. algae.
The remaining bacteria unaffected by copper are mostly anaerobic and found in sludge like Actinomyces, also responsible for many odors such as the distinctive sewage odor, methyl-isoborneol (MIB). Over time, they cause the algae problem to spiral out of control by continually recycling phosphates back into the water column.
Cyanobacteria feed on the phosphates expelled by anaerobic bacteria and have the ability to create complex hydrocarbons that are toxic to humans and many other animals that have access to lakes, reservoirs, etc.
Cyanobacteria perform photosynthesis like plants and have similar requirements for sunlight, nutrients, and carbon dioxide to grow and produce oxygen. There are many different varieties that are usually green or blue-green in color.
However, different varieties can also be white, brown, blue, yellow-brown or red. Depending on environmental conditions, cyanobacteria can grow to excessive levels and form visible “blooms” which can lead to poor water quality and potential for toxicity. Cyanobacteria are well known to disrupt drinking water supplies, recreational activities, and water-dependent industries, and pose risks to humans, pets/livestock, and a wide range of wildlife.
Remediation Options for Harmful Algal Blooms
Returning to available treatment alternatives to chemicals, managing nutrient levels is an important process in the short- and long-term reduction of harmful algal blooms. This means regular testing of all tributaries and sections of the body of water to determine the source, after which remedies can be applied.
Although each body of water is unique with its own tributaries and ecosystem, it is becoming increasingly clear that a holistic approach that involves both nutrient and algae control can be very effective in providing a quick and easy solution. long term to the problem. In addition to reducing nutrient levels, ultrasonic technology and good green algae are important tools to consider when it is necessary to reduce algae levels quickly.
Next-generation ultrasonic algae mitigation systems are spearheading many HAB mitigation efforts. These are the most advanced algal bloom counter platforms available, far exceeding the capabilities of previous models.
The new systems have the ability to transmit over 2,000 frequencies to ensure proper and effective resonance is applied to fast-growing or well-established algal blooms. The applied frequencies emit ultrasonic sound waves that only pass through water and cause structural and fatal damage to targeted flowers.
What experts have learned through careful observation is that a wide range of frequencies are found to be effective in treating most algae. The latest generation systems are now self-contained and do not require terrestrial power. The units are now fitted with solar energy to power all on-board systems.
In addition to the frequency output of an ultrasonic anti-algae system, the mechanical design of the most advanced systems incorporates scientifically significant materials such as anti-algae surfaces. The surfaces of these systems reduce the risk of biofouling, which can then reduce their effectiveness. The teams that run these systems typically spend hundreds or thousands of hours studying the algae, empirically understanding the ultrasonic frequency ranges. Their knowledge and experience is essential as it is required for the most effective placement of these devices. This is because different bodies of water have different requirements, depending on temperature, depth, shape, size, types of algae, etc.
It has been estimated that around 95% of the 70,000 species and two million subspecies of algae are affected by ultrasonic systems. As a result, the latest ultrasonic solutions have proven effective and provide a safer way to remove harmful algae variants. More often than not, this technology will prevent an algae bloom from developing and becoming a problem. As part of a holistic suite of solutions and processes, they are highly effective in quickly remedying the most troublesome cyanobacteria/blue-green algae blooms.