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US & Dutch Water Sector Against Algae Bloom

Dutch-based Water Alliance and Akron Global Water Alliance announced a joint monitoring project on harmful algae bloom in Lake Erie, USA. Dutch companies and knowledge institutes involved, are BlueLeg Monitor, Deltares, Arcadis and the University of Amsterdam

Akron Water Supply intends to start before the summer to find out how monitoring and combatting toxic algae can be done.

The meeting followed the US Algal Toxin conference that took place in Akron, Ohio from 28-30 April. The conference highlighted the increase of toxine algae bloom events in rivers sand lakes, and the subsequent problems for water supply companies that use these waters as their source.

Both the conference and business meeting had been organised by the Dutch Water Alliance and Akron Global Water Alliance to explore the business opportunities for specialized companies in both countries.

Great concern after Toledo drinking water stop

The conference made clear that the issue of toxin algae bloom is high on the agenda of US water supply companies.

Especially since August last year when the city of Toledo had to stop its water supply for two days as the water at the intake in Lake Erie contained too high levels of microcystin, a toxin produced by fresh water cyanobacteria.

The city of Akron is located some 200 km east of Toledo and Akron Water Supply also takes in its water from Lake Erie. Fortunately for Akron Water Supply it was not hit by last year's algae bloom.

First business meeting in US

Akron Water Supply participates in the Akron Global Water Alliance that facilitates knowledge institutes and businesses to develop innovative solutions for water treatment issues.

As Water Alliance is doing the same in the Netherlands, both alliances decided to joint their efforts on the monitoring of algae in fresh water.

For Water Alliance it was the first time to co-organise a meeting to explore a possible business case abroad.

No consensus on ultimate solution

The US Algal Toxin Conference made clear there are plenty of solutions or semi-solutions offered by the market, but there is no consensus on one ultimate solution. Much is still unclear, there is an urgent need for more data, but it is clear that the problem does not go away by itself.

"Toxic algae are a serious threat, even in the lakes where we draw our water," said manager Jeff Bronowski of Akron Water Supply. "We are really impressed by the knowledge and the methods offered by the Dutch. We do a lot of monitoring ourselves, but we want to see how it could be done better and more efficiently. We have highly qualified people within our organisation and it takes them a lot of time to gather samples."

Source: Dutch Water Sector

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