Unless it’s St Patrick’s day, no one enjoys drinking green water. When we think about source of drinking water, we like to imagine clean, crystal clear water, but algae may be lingering in municipal water supplies and could lead to odd colored water coming out of your taps. Water algae appears in a range of sizes from the tiny single cells to the branched types that have a visible length. So, here we will explore the topic of algae and whether you should be concerned about algae affecting your water supply. 

The Common Types of Water Algae 

As mentioned above there are a number of types of different algae that may be found in water sources and municipal supplies. These include: 

Green are freshwater algae species that can be multicellular or unicellular.

Blue Green are a unicellular species typically enclosed in a sheath with no flagella.

Motile Green are flagellated unicellular algae. This group contains the most crucial species that are diatoms with shells comprised of mostly silica.  

The most essential feature of these types of water algae is the capability to utilize nitrogen from the environment in cell combination as a nutrient. While municipal water is usually treated to remove unwanted materials, some of these algae strains grow well in supplies and municipal wastewater.  

Biodegradation and Algae 

Biodegradation requires a continuous oxygen supply to destroy organic materials. This is an expensive and tedious procedure that requires a great deal of expertise and personnel. These issues can be overcome by establishing microalgae in the tanks and ponds at the wastewater treatment facility. Algae based treatment systems are primarily created for nutrient removal, but there is an added advantage that the process creates biomass byproducts that can be used for biofuel feedstock.  

Organic waste biodegradation using algae and microorganisms allows nutrients, particularly phosphorus and nitrogen from the water. Microorganisms and algae exist in a symbiotic relationship. The bacteria metabolize any organic waste for energy and growth, releasing carbon dioxide and creating new bacteria biomass. The algae then use the CO2 to gather nutrients through photosynthesis delivering O2 and facilitating aerobic bacteria activity.  

Removing Algae From Water Supplies 

Although algae can be very useful in municipal water treatment facilities, this doesn’t mean that you want traces in your water supply. While the facility may aim to remove any algae before water is delivered to your home, your water may have a colored tint that indicates that some algae have remained in the supply.  

Fortunately, there are a number of water treatment filters and systems that are designed to remove any traces of algae in water supplies. This ensures that any algae cells are eliminated from your water, and it is restored to being clean and crystal clear. 

If you have concerns that your water supply may contain algae, you should speak to a water treatment professional. An experienced and fully WQA certified specialist will not only be able to test your water to determine any contaminant levels, but also guide you through the devices and treatment systems best suited to your specific needs.

With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative.  Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices. EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery businesses in the state.