Faculty Advisor or Committee Member
John Bergendahl, Committee Member
Harmful algal blooms in surface water supply systems pose a threat to public health and are increasing in both frequency and geographical distribution. Cyanobacteria can contribute to taste and odor issues and potentially release harmful cyanotoxins into the water. Several treatment methods are currently employed to control these blooms, including physical separation and chemical pre-oxidation. However, existing oxidation options can be costly; increase the release of intracellular material causing the formation of disinfection byproducts; or disrupt coagulation and filtration processes. This study investigated ferrate (Fe(VI)) as an alternative to other oxidants by measuring its effect on algae cells. Fe(VI) has several advantages as an oxidant, including a high oxidation potential, a low potential for harmful disinfection byproduct production, and formation of Fe(III) - which can potentially be beneficial for downstream treatment processes. Bench scale studies were conducted with laboratory prepared waters containing the common cyanobacteria Microcystis aeruginosa to examine the interactions between Fe(VI) and algae. The effects of ferrate oxidation on algae were characterized by particle counts, UV254 absorbance, total organic carbon (TOC) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and total nitrogen. Ferrate decomposition was also monitored. Results showed that Fe(VI) lysed algal cells under some conditions, but further oxidation of released organic matter is possible at some doses. Additionally, some coagulation benefits were observed through an overall decrease in total particle counts and an increase in particle sizes. In general, the results indicate that Fe(VI) could be a possible alternative to other oxidants for water utilities during harmful algal blooms; however, the final fate of resulting organic matter and the potential for disinfection byproduct formation should be further studied.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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Gerlach, Kyle T., "Assessment of Ferrate for Pre-Oxidation Treatment of Harmful Algal Blooms in Drinking Water Treatment" (2019). Masters Theses (All Theses, All Years). 1332.
Water Treatment, Ferrate, Oxidation, Algae, Water