Another win in water quality battle

Monday, 01 May, 2006

The National Environment Centre and CSIRO have combined resources in the identification of water algae, through offering specialised training to the water industry.

"This is no simple exercise since there are some 3000-plus species of algae in Australia," explained National Environment Centre teacher Terry Bevis.

"This number is contestable according to scientists as there are more species yet to be discovered and verified."

Algae can play havoc with machinery and equipment such as pumps and can contaminate freshwater with taste and odour problems. Water treatment operators need to have a process or steps in place to assess the different types of algae that may be entering their water treatment facility.

To protect against these problems operators need to have skills in identification and recognition of certain algae species. Once the species are identified and the potential quantity evaluated, water operators make decisions on what to do next in operating their water treatment plant.

"Our challenge was to put a "fence around' the task of identification and keep the training to an otherwise simple process of identifying algae in the known realms," explained Mr Bevis.

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