Scrubbing and Skimming

New Methods for Combating Algal Blooms

Skimming – A recent story on the Corps of Engineers use of algal skimmers in Florida to help combat toxic algal blooms reminded me of North Carolina’s own efforts to combat algal blooms. In Florida, the Lake Okeechobee skimming process uses “dissolved air flotation” to bring algae to the surface and remove it from the water column.  The process has been used effectively in wastewater treatment where the systems are contained better able to engineer but it is a relatively new approach to combating harmful algal blooms in the natural environment.

Scrubbing – A slightly different “in-line” removal process was tried in North Carolina to use scrubbing of algae. Durham partnered with HydroMentia to test the effectiveness of algae scrubbing on Falls Lake waters. In the pilot study, HydroMentia found the method had a positive effect at removing nitrogen and phosphorus, the fuel driving algal blooms (See their report https://hydromentia.com/falls-lake-algal-turf-scrubber-pilot-final-report/).  While technologies such as these may not be cheap, they may be part of the solution to the nutrient pollution challenges facing NC.

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