Water Quality Solutions understands that when it comes to algae, chemical applications are a ‘necessary evil’, but at the end of the day we set a precedence on environmentally friendly irradiation methods. Algae is often the symptom of an underlying problem so we investigate the cause first and foremost.
The discovery phase includes understanding the unique circumstances that will influence our recommend solution. It doesn’t make sense to offer a chemical treatment to someone when their water overflows into a river full of platypus, nor does it make sense to suggest designing aeration to a client with a lakeside wedding reception in three days time!
Some recommended options for algae control:
Biological water treatments
Algae requires temperature, food and sunlight to grow. Reducing algae’s food source is ultimately the best treatment method, tackling the underlying problem found in most dams – too much nutrients (eutrophication). The main nutrient sources for algae are nitrogen and phosphorus, decomposing leaves, animal waste and storm water inputs. Nitrogen can be removed from water naturally by combining aeration and biological water treatments. This combo boosts beneficial bacteria that then converts nitrogen into a gas that escapes into the atmosphere. Beneficial bacteria can take care of phosphorus by locking it up in their cell structure making it unavailable for algae. This process is assisted by biological water treatments and flocculant that can be sprayed over the surface causing the phosphorus to sink, making it less available to algae.
Limiting the amount of sunlight can help with some types of algae control, especially filamentous species and some of the smaller types such as planktonic algae. Lake dyes turn water blue or black and reduce the amount of sunlight available to plants and algae. A treatment in late winter can be useful to prevent the first onslaught of algae as the water warms.
Many types of algae have an internal buoyancy chamber that allows them to float. These chambers can be broken with ultrasonic frequencies in a similar way that a crystal glass can be shattered by the right sound wave. With the buoyancy chamber gone, the algae sinks to the bottom. Not all algae have buoyancy chambers and different algae is effected by different frequencies so it’s important to choose equipment with a wide range and use them in conjunction with nutrient reduction methods for best results.
Chemical water treatments
Copper is the most commonly used algaecide but copper sulphate has been replaced with safer chelated copper products that are less damaging to the aquatic environment. Other chemical treatments to combat algae include Clearwater Flocculant that can bind and sink phosphorus removing it as a food for algae; Algae Lift, a peroxygen chemistry used to bleach the Chlorophyll-a found in algae, making it susceptible to attack from naturally occurring bacteria.
Silver Perch are a native fish that are effective at grazing on filamentous algae. This however, is site specific because if more preferable food is available they’ll probably eat that first. Fish have tastes too!
Controlling algae successfully over the long term is about manipulating the environment it grows in. Water Quality Solutions will make sure you reach a decision that best suits your organisation.