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August 2017 Newsletter

A Closer Look #174

Pictured 2nd from Right: Dr. Rick Rediske, lead instructor, with participants.

AWWA Plankton & Algae Course at AWRI

After a year of planning by a committee of experts from academia, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and water treatment plants, AWRI hosted a three-day Plankton-Algae course sponsored by the Michigan Section of the American Water Works Association on August 1-3, 2017.  Participants in the course were staff from water treatment plants from throughout Michigan.  The course focused on finding solutions to drinking water problems caused by algae such as taste and odor issues, clogged filters in water treatment, and harmful algal blooms.  These new challenges necessitate an increased awareness, knowledge, and understanding by water professionals in dealing with problems caused by algae.  The three day course provided the tools necessary for algal identification, forecasting, treatment and prevention.

The first day was devoted to identification of algae followed by collection of algae from Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake using the W.G. Jackson on the next day.  There were presentations about AWRI research, online monitoring technology, and genetic analysis.  Dr. Rick Rediske was the lead instructor on Days 1 and 2 with assistance from Dr. Bopi Biddanda, his students, and Dr. Charlyn Partridge.  Dr. Janet Vail coordinated the course and its materials. Day 3 was devoted to algal bloom case studies with presentations by the Ohio EPA, a water utility director, and consultants.  According to Dr. Alan Steinman, director of the Annis Water Resources Institute, “this type of workshop is perfectly aligned with our mission and that of Grand Valley.  We are sharing our expertise in water quality to assist the practitioners responsible for providing clean drinking water to the citizens of Michigan. It simply does not get much more rewarding than that”.