Water Purification Through Algal Treatment

Waste water from domestic, industrial and agricultural process have been a serious issues since long time. Over 80% of waste-water didn’t receive any attention before disposing back on earth (environment). But, the recent technological shift i.e. algal treatment system has been viewed as a better alternatives for eco-friendly waste-water treatment. There are certain algae which are also toxic so, specific care is necessary. It is used with Environment Energy Technologies (EET) that has proved to be very effective for waste-water treatment.

Example of Algal Treatment System


How it works and some examples

Algae remove ammonia, phosphate, nitrate, etc. which reduces the pathogen load and purify the water. Fruticose and foliose (both types of algae) have potentiality of adsorbing heavy metals and other contaminants too. UV radiation developed with proper treatment system like EET helps to kill the leftover pathogens. Besides these, they are also considered to be effective in removal of coliform bacteria and reduction of chemical and biochemical oxygen demand. After algal treatment, the waste water can be made usable through pH maintenance. Many researchers and leaders are nowadays attracted towards cultivation of microalgae that absorb the nutrients from the wastewater for their growth because it’s believed to be thriving technology that helps to meet both EU financial and environmental requirements. Microalgae called Spirulina has many beneficial qualities including ability to grow in high salinity water. Similarly, Chlorella is found to be effective against removal of lead, nitrogen and phosphorous. Likewise, Scenedesmus abundans and Sargassum muticum are used for the elimination of cadmium and methylene blue dye respectively.


Algae as Bio-indicator

Algae bio-assays is being used as an indicating mechanisms of water quality since ages. Organisms such as Euglena, Oscillatoria, Chlorella, Chlamydomonas and Navicula usually indicate the polluted water but organisms such as Lemanea and Stigeoclonium indicate that the water is fresh and unpolluted.


Positive Parts and Drawbacks of Algal Treatment

The greatest advantages of use of algae for water treatment is its suitability for poor countries which lacks proper infrastructure for waste-water treatment. This system is also ideal for the regions with higher temperatures and sunlight exposures. This treatment also prevents the eutrophication in water bodies i.e. enrichment of organic nutrients which occurs as a results of dissolved nutrients and minerals with water. This species also remove CO2 and are important part of carbon cycle too. Despite of huge benefits including detoxifying and purifying water; these system also have some drawbacks.

Harvesting of algae is the main challenges of this treatment system due to settling characteristics and operational conditions. The controlling of biomass selecting desired species is also one of the complex processes possessing greater challenges. Although this could be the effective option to treat waste water with low cost and high efficiency; these treatment requires land which is of issues for allocating land solely for this purpose too.

But, overall this system could be a boon for developing countries and also for developed countries. Thus, its practice is highly suggested and motivated. It has been the great technology which also protects the environment and possesses the future sustainability.



  1. https://www.rit.edu/showcase/index.php?id=167#:~:text=Making%20drinking%20water,EET%20kills%20any%20leftover%20pathogens.
  2. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/ees.2016.0132.
  3. https://www.euronews.com/2019/08/26/how-microalgae-can-treat-wastewater-and-turn-it-into-a-valuable-resource.
  4. https://www.intechopen.com/books/water-treatment/relationship-of-algae-to-water-pollution-and-waste-water-treatment.
  5. https://iwa-network.org/microalgae-sustainable-alternative-wastewater-treatment/.
  6. http://www.oilgae.com/blog/2014/01/commonly-used-algae-strains-for-waste-water-treatment.html#:~:text=Some%20of%20algae%20strains%20that,and%20P)%20from%20domestic%20wastewater.

Kiran ghimire

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