Dealing With Algae in Your Water

Dealing With Algae in Your Water

Whether you have municipal water or a private well, algae can create problems in your home. Although there are many types of algae that are not harmful, when your tap water turns a strange color, it can make it very unpalatable. So, here we’ll explore the types of algae you may find in your water and what can be done to correct the problem.

The Types of Algae

There are a number of types of algae that can be found in domestic water supplies. The essential feature of algae is their capability of using nitrogen from the environment in cell combination as a nutrient. Some strains grow well in municipal wastewater, while others are more commonplace in well supplies. Generally, municipal supplies are treated to remove unwanted materials including algae, but it can still be introduced through the infrastructure. The types of includes:

  • Green; This is a freshwater species that is unicellular or multicellular.
  • Blue Green; These unicellular algae are typically enclosed in a sheath but with no flagella.
  • Motile Green; This type of algae is flagellated and unicellular. Within this group, there are diatoms with shells mainly composed of silica.

Algae and Biodegradation

Some municipal treatment plants use algae as part of the water treatment process. Growing microalgae in tanks and ponds for wastewater treatment can negate the expensive and tedious process of supplying oxygen. Algae based treatment systems are primarily used to remove nutrients, with the added advantage that it produces biomass that can be used as biofuel feedstock. Nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen are typically removed from the water using denitrification or chemical precipitation, but this leads to nitrogen gas being discharged into the atmosphere. On the other hand, algae growth systems allow the nutrients to be removed with only biomass as a result.

Microorganisms and algae exist in a symbiotic relationship. Bacteria will metabolize organic waste for energy and growth, creating bacteria biomass and releasing inorganic nutrients and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is then used by the algae through photosynthesis to gather nutrients into algal biomass and increasing O2 concentration, which facilitates aerobic bacterial activity.

Removing Algae

While algae can be useful in water treatment, any traces can affect the color and odor of your water. Fortunately, there are a number of water treatment devices that can remove any traces of algae from your water supply. This can help you to avoid discoloration and unpalatable drinking water. A point of entry system will filter your water as it enters your home to ensure that all faucets and water using appliances are supplied with algae free, clean water.

If you have concerns about algae or other contaminants in your water, you should speak to a water treatment technician. A fully WQA certified professional can answer any water quality queries you may have and assess your water to determine the presence of algae and any other contaminants. Using these testing results, the technician can guide you through the treatment options that not only suit your requirements, but meet the industry guidelines.

By Mark Williams (NicMar President Mark Williams holds degrees in Applied Science and Industrial Thermodynamics, along with Agricultural Mechanization and Systems Engineering from Ohio State University.  He also holds the highest possible industry ranking, being WQA (Water Quality Association) LEVEL 6 Certified.

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Nicmar Water
999 Baltimore Road York SpringsPA17372 USA 
 • 800-542-8649

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