Planning for Mitigation of Algae, Cyanobacteria, and Taste and Odor: The BJWSA Experience

Authors:

  • Erik Rosenfeldt - Hazen and Sawyer
  • Chris Petry - Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority

Learn more about harmful algae blooms, monitoring, and treatment in our white paper.

A rare and intense algae related taste and odor event occurred in the BJWSA water supply system in December and January of 2013 / 2014. This event occurred in their water system served by the Chelsea Water Treatment Plant, which has historically not experienced major taste and odor events, and resulted in more than 200 odor related complaints. For a system that averages less than 10 calls a month related to taste and odor issues and has only experienced algae related taste and odor in the late summer/early fall, this event represented a major excursion and tested the patience and confidence of the Authority’s customers. In response, BJWSA took the proactive step to develop a project to take a holistic view of algae management and taste and odor control practices implemented to date and to identify possible improvements to these procedures and practices. BJWSA hired Hazen and Sawyer to assist with this evaluation and to develop a comprehensive algae and T&O management plan centered on managing algae and cyanobacteria populations in the water supply system and on treatment options for T&O at the system’s water treatment plants.

Hazen and Sawyer performed an evaluation of historical water quality monitoring and algae management strategies to identify opportunities for improvement in the current strategies, reviewed applicable strategies for algae, cyanobacteria, and T&O monitoring, mitigation and treatment, and presented recommended T&O control strategies. The study concluded that while mitigation and treatment techniques that are applied once a bloom has formed or T&O has been released to the water column can be important management tools, preventing cyanobacteria blooms from forming is often the most cost effective and holistic approach to controlling taste and odor. Tools developed in this evaluation and implemented by BJWSA include a monitoring plan such that BJWSA could identify system inputs of nutrients and algae promoting water quality conditions, along with an Alert Level Framework (ALF) designed specifically for the BJWSA water supply system to assist in monitoring and managing algae and cyanobacteria blooms, to avoid taste and odor events along with other cyanobacteria related water quality concerns.

This presentation will provide an overview and update of the project. BJWSA has implemented monitoring and management strategies, and used them to respond to elevated levels of algae and mitigate taste and odor events throughout the spring and summer of 2014, and this presentation will also present results from these endeavors.

For more information, please contact the author at erosenfeldt@hazenandsawyer.com.

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