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American Water awarded research grant focusing on early warning system for algal blooms

  • American Water awarded research grant focusing on early warning system for algal blooms
  • American Water has been awarded a new grant from The Water Research Foundation (WRF).

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American Water
American Water provides high-quality water and wastewater services to approximately 15 million people in more than 1,600 communities in the United States as well as parts of Canada.

American Water, the largest regulated water and wastewater utility company in the U.S., has been awarded a new grant from The Water Research Foundation (WRF)Determining the Role of Spectral Imaging as an Early Warning System for Presence/Significance of Algal Blooms [5266]. This research aims to develop cost-effective tools for early and reliable identification of harmful algal blooms.

“American Water is delighted to partner with The Water Research Foundation on this important water-related research, and continue to advance the science of drinking water,” said Lynda DiMenna, Chief Environmental Officer, American Water. “Research into algal blooms is a critical component in continuing to provide clean, safe and reliable water services to customers and across the water industry.”

Algal blooms can have negative impacts on both water providers and communities, affecting operations as well as public health. Current methods for monitoring these blooms are either time-consuming, difficult to use or require advanced analytical expertise. To prevent these issues, a proactive and multi-disciplinary monitoring strategy is needed.

“Analyzing algal blooms in water sources is an essential part of helping to ensure our water services are clean and safe for customers and throughout the water sector,” said Dr. Zia Bukhari, Principal Scientist, American Water and lead for this study. “Existing tools are slow and can be unreliable. This research will couple satellite imaging with machine learning tools and benchmark these against the latest chemistry and microbiology techniques. Our goal is to develop more effective monitoring strategies that help improve response times and overall management of algal blooms.”

Approximately $569,550 in research investment has been provided by WRF, American Water and partners, which include Element 84, Hazen & Sawyer, Resolve Hydro LLC and the City of Wichita Falls.

WRF is the leading research organization advancing the science of everything water to meet the evolving needs of the water sector.

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