The effectiveness of conventional water treatment in removing Ceratium furcoides (Levander) Langhans, Microcystis sp. and microcystins
Algal blooms are a global problem due to various negative effects that can compromise water quality, such as the production of metabolites that are responsible for odour, colour, taste and toxins. In drinking water supplies algae can reduce the aesthetics of potable water when not readily removed by conventional water treatment processes. One of the major challenges in water treatment is the removal of cells without leading to lysis and the consequent release of dissolved metabolites in the water. The Maestra Reservoir, which is located in Caxias do Sul, RS – Brazil, is a small meso- to supereutrophic reservoir. The reservoir provides water for the Celeste Gobatto water treatment plant (Celeste Gobatto WTP) which uses the conventional method of treatment. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of conventional water treatment for the removal of algae, cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins. A bloom of Microcystis (Kützing) ex Lemmermann with a density of 23 163 cells∙mL-1, Ceratium furcoides (Levander) Langhans, (5 356 cells∙mL-1) and a microcystin concentration of 1.97 μg∙L-1 was found in the raw water reservoir. Samples sites were assigned the following numbers: (1) raw reservoir water; (2) WTP entry; (3) after sedimentation; (4) filtered water; and (5) treated water. Cell removal was evaluated by cell counting conducted with an inverted microscope, chlorophyll-a by a colorimetric method and microcystin by an enzyme immunoassay kit. Conventional water treatment was effective in removing chlorophyll-a, Microcystis sp. and Ceratium furcoides, mainly in the early treatment steps. Microcystin persisted until the last treatment step, when approximately 50% of the microcystin that had arrived at the WTP was removed by disinfection. Removal of these taxa and toxin was above 98%. Despite the efficacy of Ceratium furcoides removal, the presence of this dinoflagellate in treated water is considered to be large because of its large size.
Keywords: Ceratium furcoides, Microcystis sp., microcystins