There are three main aims within this research theme:Western Treatment Plant. Image: Melbourne Water

1) To develop safe, affordable and environmentally benign treatment options that avoid, minimise or eliminate nuisance algae, toxins or T&O compounds, including from affected waste streams (e.g. sludge).

Existing treatment solutions are based on infrequent monitoring of cells and toxins. Furthermore, algal blooms even without harmful toxins and T&O compounds, influence operation of the water treatment plant and water recycling streams (for example shorter filter run times and disruption of clarification/filtration).

2) To investigate potential for the selective accumulation of toxigenic cyanobacteria, conditions leading to the expression of toxicity, and impact of different physical-chemical treatment processes on the algal communities.

Currently the phenomena leading to selective accumulation of toxigenic cyanobacteria in treatment plants, conditions causing the expression of toxicity and impact of treatment on the microbial communities are unknown.

3) To understand the current economic and non-economic impact, and the future liability of nuisance algae for clean water production, water reuse and resource recovery.

This research-practice theme will ensure that economic and non-economic impacts of nuisance algal blooms within our region are summarised in a format that can be used to mitigate risks and build in-house capacity through evidence-based business cases

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