Modelling the water quality in dams within the Umgeni Water operational area with emphasis on algal relations
Graham, Philip Mark
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Based on many years of water quality (including algal) and water treatment cost data, available at Umgeni Water, a study was undertaken to better understand the water quality relationships in man made lakes within the company's operational area, and to investigate how water quality affected the cost of treating water from these lakes. The broad aims to the study were to: identify the key environmental variables that were affecting algal populations in lakes; and if these were significant to establish predictive models relating algae to the water quality; and to develop models relating the water quality in lakes to the cost of treating water from the lakes. Semi-quantitative models were developed relating algal abundances with important environmental variables. In most cases, the models developed were related to algal populations that were known to adversely affect water treatment. Direct algal impact on water treatment processes was through the production of either taste and odour forming compounds (requiring advanced water treatment, such as use of activated carbon), or their ability to clog sand filters and so reduce filter run times (requiring more frequent backwashing of filters). Thereafter lake water quality parameters (which included water physico-chemistry and algae) were investigated to determine which factors were most significantly impacting on water treatment and hence treatment costs at selected water works (WW) within the Umgeni Water operational area. Models were developed relating raw water quality entering respective water works with costs incurred in treating that water. The models allowed simulations to be developed illustrating how changes in water quality might impact on water treatment costs. The impact of eutrophication and contamination of rivers and lakes, and its subsequent impact on surface water resources, was quantified.
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