Euglenoids /x^y Blue-green Diatom

Figure 8.8 Algae.

Algae are a form of aquatic plants and are classified by color (e.g., green algae, blue-green algae, golden-brown algae). Algae come in many shapes and sizes (see Figure 8.8). Although they are not pathogenic, algae do cause problems with water/wastewater treatment plant operations. They grow easily on the walls of troughs and basins, and heavy growth can plug intakes and screens. Additionally, some algae release chemicals that give off undesirable tastes and odors. As mentioned, algae are usually classified by their color; however, they are also commonly classified based on their cellular properties or characteristics, including: (1) cellular organization and cell wall structure; (2) the nature of the chlorophyll; (3) the type of motility, if any; (4) the carbon polymers that are produced and stored; and (5) the reproductive structures and methods.

Many algae (in mass) are easily seen by the naked eye; others are microscopic. They occur in fresh and polluted water, as well as in saltwater. Because they are plants, they are capable of using energy from the sun in photosynthesis. They usually grow near the surface of the water because light cannot penetrate very far through the water.

Algae are controlled in raw waters with chlorine and potassium permanganate. Algae blooms in raw water reservoirs are often controlled with copper sulfate.

Note: By producing oxygen, which is utilized by other organisms including animals, algae play an important role in the balance of nature.

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