Tag Archives: Algae

L.A. is Now Using Shade Balls

shade balls

L.A. has come up with a new design to save water moving forward during California’s drought. The main reservoir in Los Angeles has been turned into a giant ball pit. How will this help exactly? Well, the “shade balls” that cover the reservoir are made from black polyethylene and coated with an ultraviolet light-resistant material. They are also filled with water so that they don’t get swept away by wind. The 4-inch balls are supposed to last for 25 years without degradation.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti helped to disperse some of the 96 million balls across the 175-acre reservoir as a sign that L.A. is working to save water during the drought. The reservoir, which is located in Sylmar, holds about 3.3 billion gallons, which would supply the city with drinking water for up to three weeks if need be.

mayor shade ball

“The balls cost 36 cents each, for a total of $34.5 million. The utility has been testing the concept since 2008, reporting that shade balls reduce evaporation by 85 to 90 percent. That should equate to saving nearly 300 million gallons a year, enough to provide drinking water for 8,100 people. The balls also inhibit microorganism growth, reducing the treatment the water must undergo through other means, which could save the city $250 million over time. The city says the balls will shade and cool the water, reducing evaporation from the reservoir and making it less susceptible to algae, bacterial growth, and chemical reactions that can produce harmful substances.” (National Geographic)

These shade balls will end up helping Los Angeles to cut its water use by 15 percent over a two-year period.

Source:
Why Did L.A. Drop 96 Million ‘Shade Balls’ Into Its Water?. National Geographic. August 12, 2015. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/08/150812-shade-balls-los-angeles-California-drought-water-environment/

Images:

1) news.discovery.com

2) mashable.com

How San Diego is Saving Water during the Drought

Last week the San Diego community received the 2014 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report handbook. In it contains information about where the city’s water is sourced from, how the water treatment process works, how the city is diversifying our water, and how the city is moving towards more sustainable practices.

By 2035, the city of San Diego plans to have 1/3 of its drinking water supplied through a program that purifies recycled water. It is planned to produce about 15 million gallons of water for the city each day. The technology used to do so requires membrane filtration, reverse osmosis, advanced oxidation with ultraviolet light, and hydrogen peroxide. The city tested this method through a one-year project using 9,000 water quality tests and daily monitoring to ensure that no contaminants were present in the recycled water. The California Department of Public Health and San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board approved the recycled water purifying process as it met all federal and state drinking water standards.

San Diego is also exploring ways to use groundwater basins to provide water storage, capture rainwater for recycling purposes, and implement an ocean desalination plant to produce desalinated water for use throughout San Diego County.

The 2014 Water Quality Report also states that the city has been mandated to reduce its water use by 16% as a whole. They are asking residents and businesses to identify where they can most save water and give tips on the best ways to do so. Some of these include: only watering your lawn two times per week, putting low-flow heads on your faucets and showerheads, and evaluating your pipes for possible water leaks. They are also urging residents to use the City’s Public Utilities Department website, wastenowater.org, for water-saving resource guides.

Are you wasting water throughout your home? Filtercon Technologies is a full-line water treatment company. They have whole-house water filters that don’t waste water, save you money, and keep you healthy! They are one of the most trusted water filtration systems in the state, and work mostly by referral. Check out their site, http://www.filtercon.com. Or call for more information at 800-550-1995.

Source:

The City of San Diego 2014 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report. City of San Diego Public Utilities Water & Wastewater. 2 July 2015.

Image:

kidscures.org

Lake Erie increasingly susceptible to toxic algae blooms, study suggests

Attention has been focused on water quality in Lake Erie since early August, when algal toxins from the lake got into the water supply for Toledo, Ohio.

That problem led to a shutdown of the public water system, leaving nearly half a million Ohio and Michigan residents without drinking water for several days.

Now, new research has found that Lake Erie has become increasingly susceptible to large blooms of toxin-producing cyanobacteria over the past decade. This is likely to complicate efforts to control the problem, the University of Michigan said.

Since the toxin microcystin was detected in the water supply, discussions of how to prevent a recurrence have largely focused on the need to reduce the amount of phosphorus fertilizer that ends up in Lake Erie. The chemical washes off croplands and flows into the western part of the lake, causing harmful cyanobacteria blooms to emerge.

Scientists from the University of Michigan and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration believe that the microcystin-producing cyanobacteria in Lake Erie are becoming more sensitive to phosphorus and that greater reductions than the recently proposed targets will be needed.

According to the study, these targets will not be sufficient to reduce the intensity of cyanobacteria blooms to desired levels, so long as the lake remains in a heightened state of bloom susceptibility.

“That means we need to better understand what is driving the increased susceptibility and whether it can be controlled, or if deeper phosphorus reductions are needed,” said Don Scavia from the University of Michigan, one of the authors of the study.

The team’s findings have been published in the journal Water Resources Research.

Health Advisory: Do not drink or splash in water from Willamette River

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 1.10.41 PMPhoto Credit to KGW

By Teresa Blackman, KGW.com Staff

PORTLAND, Ore. – A noticeable layer of scum in the Willamette River has health officials warning people to stay out of the water and by all means, do not drink it.

The scum extends from the southern end of Ross Island to the Fremont Bridge, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

“Water monitoring is underway to determine the species and amount of blue-green algae cells present in the river. The type of species in the bloom will help to identify whether the cells present are those with the potential to produce toxins harmful to humans and animals,” explained OHA spokesman Jonathan Modie.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has taken water samples from the river for testing. Results were expected to be available late Wednesday or Thursday morning.

Children & pets at increased risk

“People should avoid skin contact with water, as well as swallowing or inhaling water droplets, until results of tests are available,” Modie added. “Drinking water directly from the Willamette River could be especially dangerous.”

The toxins can not be removed by boiling, filtering or treating the water with camping-style filters but public drinking water systems can reduce algae toxins through proper filtration and disinfection. Health officials said anyone who draws in-home water directly from the Willamette River in the area should use an alternative water source until the advisory is lifted.

Toxins can cause serious illness, rash

Health experts said that exposure to toxins from blue-green algae can cause people to develop numbness, tingling and dizziness that can lead to difficulty breathing or heart problems, and require immediate medical attention. It can also cause diarrhea, nausea, cramps, fainting or trigger a rash.

Children and pets are at increased risk for exposure because of their size and level of activity.

Fish & shellfish may be tainted

Fish, clams, mussels, or crayfish from the affected water could possibly make people sick, too. Health officials said people wanting to eat fish should remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking it. As for crayfish, the muscle can be eaten, but internal organs and liquid fat should be discarded. It’s best just to avoid eating freshwater clams or mussels from the area.

The public will be advised when the concern no longer exists.

Help lines for more information:

In the meantime, anyone needing to discuss additional health concerns can contact the Oregon Health Authority at 971-673-0400.

Anyone wanting more information about algae sampling can contact the Department of Environmental Quality at 503-693-5723 or check the Harmful Algae Bloom website.

BREAKING WATER NEWS: BOIL WATER NOTICES

drinking water
 Anderson County, S.C.
According to an article by the WYFF4 Greenville in South Carolina, customers of Anderson County are on boil water notice until the Anderson Regional Joint Water System fixes the bad smell and taste from the water. The bad smell and taste is coming from the algae of Lake Hartwell causing several customers to call in to complain about the water.
Read more at http://www.wyff4.com/news/crews-now-treating-lake-to-fight-algae/27887094#!bQd0m2
Pembroke Pines, Fla
Those living in Pembroke Pines are still on boil water notice after a water main break on Thursday. Anyone with any questions regarding the testing of the water should contact The City of Pembroke Pines Water Plant at 954-986-5011.
Read more at http://www.local10.com/news/precautionary-boil-water-notice-issued-for-pembroke-pines/27890516
Filtercon Whole House Ultraviolet Disinfection System
ultraviolet-water-system

Our Ultra-violet (UV) light is 99.9% effective against disease causing micro-organisms such as E. coli. By exposing contaminated water to high intensity UV light disease causing micro-organisms are rendered harmless.

Filtercon offers Whole House Ultraviolet Systems, as well as small units for under the counter ultraviolet sink faucets.

Ultraviolet disinfection systems are safe, proven to be effective , and have been used worldwide for many years.

Ultraviolet units can be installed alone, or together with a whole house filter, or with an under the sink filtration unit.

click here

Toledo’s Contaminated Water: Here’s What Went Wrong

TOLEDO2-articleLarge

The contamination came from algae toxins—and it’s not likely to be an isolated incident

On Monday, the Toledo, Ohio, Mayor D. Michael Collins lifted the municipal ban on drinking water.The ban had left thousands of Toledo and Michigan residents without drinking water, which was contaminated by a toxin produced by an algae bloom in Lake Erie. If consumed, the toxin could cause symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. Residents were told not to drink the water, use it to brush their teeth, or—most confounding of all—boil it.

We talked to two experts at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as Craig Cox, the senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to explain everything you should know about the contamination.

What is an algae bloom, and why is it toxic?

An algae bloom is a heavy concentration of cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae. It looks like a huge mat, turns the bay around Toledo bright green, and produces a neurotoxin called microcystin, which makes people sick.

How does an algae bloom form?

There are a few reasons algae blooms form, but it’s primarily caused by runoff from farm fertilizers. In Toledo’s case, the phosphorus and nitrogen from these fertilizers runs into the Maumee River, which drains right into the Maumee Bay of Lake Erie, where Toledo is located. This spurs the growth of the blooms. The summer heat has likely also played a role in this particular algae bloom’s growth.

Is this a growing problem in water?

Yes. The EPA says there is not a federal standard for blue-green algae in water, but experts say it is in the process of considering one. Farm runoff is not very regulated, so the expectation, according to Cox, is that this kind of water contamination could happen again and again. About 2o or so years ago the U.S. took action to prevent the amount of runoff draining into the lake, and things were looking up. But now, environmentalists are worried we’ve backtracked.

How did the algae get into the drinking water?

The water intake for Toledo’s water supply is located right in the middle of the Maumee Bay where the algae bloom moved to. The water intake brought in both the blue-green algae and the toxins it produces.

Aren’t there purification systems that prevent that?

Yes, but they don’t necessarily address the blue-green algae toxins. The algae bloom moved very close to the water intake system, and the water treatment system experienced much higher levels than they had previously. It put a lot of pressure on the system. The conventional treatment plan the city of Toledo has is a multi-step procedure that removes dangerous pathogens and decontaminates the water in a variety of ways. To directly address the blue-algae toxins, it is using activated carbon to absorb and remove the toxins.

How did the contamination go away in just a couple days?

The EPA worked with Toledo over the weekend to sample the water at both the supply system and the drinking water system, and a couple of things happened. First, the algae bloom moved away from the water intake system, which could have been due to the wind. The second is that Toledo enhanced its treatment system with the aforementioned carbon to specifically address the blue-algae and its toxins.

I thought boiling water decontaminates it. Why couldn’t the residents boil their water?

Boiling water kills things like bacterial organisms, but it does not get rid of blue-algae toxins. Instead, boiling water decreases the volume of the water, and therefore increases the concentration of the toxins, making it worse.

What can be done?

Creating buffers, like plants and trees that stand between farms and the water, may help catch fertilizer chemicals before they get into water ways, spurring algae growth. Farmers could also, theoretically, use less fertilizer, though there are no regulations in place as of now.

Written By Alexandra Sifferlin

Article Link:

Image Credit to Joshua Lott for The New York Times

Algae bloom affecting taste, smell of Southland tap water

Daily News Wire Services
Posted: 10/01/2011 09:56:51 AM PDT
Updated: 10/01/2011 09:59:59 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES – Metropolitan Water District officials were telling Southland residents today not to worry about an algae bloom in part of the state water system that may affect the taste of tap water in parts of four Southern California counties for weeks.

The musty, earthy taste could persist for weeks but poses no health hazard, according to the MWD, the main water wholesaler in Southern California.

The problem could affect the smell and taste of tap water in parts of eastern Los Angeles County, as well as in parts of Orange County, western San Bernardino County and southwest Riverside County, according to the MWD.

“The earthy taste and smell stem from an especially large and persistent algae bloom in the east branch of the State Water Project,” said Jim Green of the MWD.

Our customers with a FILTERCON Whole House System do not experience these bad tastes see http://www.filtercon.com for information on installing one in your home today !