Toxic algal blooms are a considerable challenge to the quality of drinking and recreational water alike. While most of algae species are harmless, blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, give rise to a distinct foul odour and are also known to produce toxins. These toxins can be dangerous for domestic pets but also cause illnesses in humans. Nutrient pollution, higher carbon dioxide levels, and changing climate might cause harmful algal blooms to occur more often, in more waterbodies and to be more intense.
Recovering the country’s most important water source
Earlier this year, Empresa de Generación Hidroeléctrica Dominicana (EGEHID) installed multiple MPC-Buoy algae management systems to cover the 7km²/2.7mi² Valdesia reservoir. Two months after the start of the project, the results have already exceeded the set targets. With an area of 7 km² (1739.79 acres), the Valdesia reservoir is the main drinking water supply for the population of the Dominican Republic’s capital Santa Domingo and its provinces. This hydroelectric plant, therefore, contributes significantly to the country, both in energy production, human consumption and agriculture. The Valdesia reservoir can store 137.54 million³ meters of water and is used to produce 52,750,000 kWh per year of electricity.
Chemicals were not the solution
Algal bloom treatment in a water surface as large as the Valdesia reservoir proved challenging for EGEHID. The option to use chemical treatment was quickly eliminated. It would be impossible in terms of budget and operations to dose the entire reservoir multiple times a year with chemicals. It was also important to not cause any harm to the environment by using potentially harmful chemicals. This led EGEHID, in their search for an environmentally friendly solution, to the MPC-Buoy.
Monitoring and treatment
Choosing MPC-Buoy has allowed EGEHID to monitor important algae and water parameters in the entire water surface of the Valdesia reservoir. The collected data is delivered in real-time to web-based software, allowing water quality specialists from LG Sonic to manage algal blooms from their headquarters, 10.000 kilometers away in the Netherlands.