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AWRI training addresses water treatment challenges

  • Rick Rediske teaches water treatment workers about algae.
  • Rick Rediske, middle, and Bopi Biddanda, right, teach water treatment workers aboard the W.G. Jackson research vessel.
  • Charlyn Partridge provides classroom instruction to water treatment workers.

Posted on August 24, 2017

Water in several Michigan communities could see improvements in taste, odor and safety thanks to a training program for water treatment plant staff hosted by Grand Valley's Annis Water Resources Institute. 

The three-day training, August 1-3, focused on plankton and algae issues, along with finding solutions to drinking water problems that they cause, including taste and odor problems, clogged filters in treatment plants, and toxins from harmful algal blooms. 

The course, designed by a committee of experts from AWRI, the Michigan DEQ and water treatment plants, was organized in response to new water management challenges that necessitate an increased awareness, knowledge and understanding of the problems caused by algae. The program taught water managers how to identify different algae, forecast algal growth, treat the problem and prevent new problems. 

Participants learned to identify algae during a trip on AWRI's research vessel, the W.G. Jackson, in Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan. AWRI researchers including Rick Rediske, Bopi Biddanda, Charlyn Partridge and Janet Vail presented on topics including online monitoring technology, genetic analysis, algal blooms and AWRI's water research projects. Several AWRI students assisted in the presentations. 

"This type of workshop is perfectly aligned with our mission," said AWRI director Alan Steinman. "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 doesn't get much more rewarding than that."

The program was sponsored by the Michigan section of the American Water Works Association.

For more information about the Annis Water Resources Institute, visit