Ohio Sea Grant researcher Dr. Hal Walker has discovered an efficient method to remove 95% of harmful microcystins from Lake Erie drinking water, using a combination of powdered activated carbon and ultrafiltration technologies.
Microcystis, a form of blue-green algae, which occur in Lake Erie during the warm summer months, generate toxins (called microcystins) that can cause health problems if consumed by humans or animals.
Water treatment facilities, however, do not specifically treat drinking water for microcystins and many of the conventional removal processes are ineffective on them.
"With 13 million people relying on Lake Erie for their two billion gallons of water annually, microcystin toxins in drinking water have become a growing concern," says Dr. Walker, Associate Professor at The Ohio State University’s Civil and Environmental Engineering and Geodetic Science Department.
To remove the toxins, Walker coupled two removal processes: microcystin first attached to small powdered activated carbon (PAC) particles; and a membrane filter then separated the PAC and microcystin from the water.
The result of the two technologies was a 95% removal of the toxin from the water.
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