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Experiences of algae in UK waters: a treatment perspective

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Algae blooms are a seasonal problem in UK waters and during these periods interferences with treatment plants are reported. This paper presents an analysis of data from 2000 to 2005 demonstrating UK experiences of algae at water treatment works. Cell populations are lower than those reported in the 1970s and 1980s, but reach levels that adversely affect treatment processes. Diatoms and cyanobacteria dominate in spring and autumn respectively. A treatment works including pre-oxidation, coagulation, flotation and filtration removes on average 96% of influent cells, while rapid gravity filters alone remove 63–75%. Cells present in the filtrate are typically either unicellular, micro-algae, or flagellated algae. filter blockages in the spring and autumn are caused by large cells of complex morphology, including the diatoms Melosira and Asterionella. Overall, since the 1980s the key issue with respect to algae treatment has changed from one of treatability to that of process optimisation and economics.

Keywords: algae; cell count; filtration; seasonal succession; speciation; treatment

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Centre for Water Science, Cranfield University, Bedfordshire, UK; 2: Research and Development, Thames Water United Utilities Ltd., Swindon, UK; 3: Northumbrian Water Ltd., Durham UK; 4: Northumbrian Water and Essex and Suffolk Water, Essex, UK; 5: Anglian Water Services Ltd., Cambrideshire, UK; and 6: Yorkshire Water, Bradford, UK

Publication date: September 1, 2008


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