No More Shutdown for Irish Water’s Lake Cross thanks to LG Sonic ultrasonic algae treatment

Water Treatment Plant

Algal blooms once grew out of control during the summer months at Irish Water’s Cross Lake Water Treatment Plan until the local council invested in LG Sonic ultrasonic algae treatment. The presence of algal blooms in the lake – especially from May to July – led to increased operating expenses for the utility company and generated complaints from the local community about bad taste and odors in their water supply. 

In the summer of 2020, the hazardous situation changed rapidly when Cork County Council invested in Water Alliance member LG Sonic ultrasonic algae treatment that eliminates up to 95% of existing algae, predicts algal blooms up to 10 days before they happen and significantly improves water quality.

Chlorophyll Dominated Blooms 

“Pea soup!” Operator Tommy of Irish Water exclaimed when looking back at the algae blooms that plagued Lake Cross. The lake is a popular touristic hotspot, and the presence of algal blooms made it difficult for locals and tourists to enjoy it during the summer months. Poor water quality caused by these algal blooms created a significant issue for the treatment plant and the local community.

Interrupted Treatment Process

Unfortunately, the treatment plant had to shut down its operation for several weeks due to algae blocking the intake pumps and filters. Direct costs of the plant were hugely impacted as time and money were diverted to emptying contaminated process components, washing tanks, and flushing and cleaning pipelines. Precious chemicals and electricity were inefficiently used to overcome the problem, with no water produced. The plant was losing money and not delivering to its customers. 

MPC-Buoy Implementation

The algae problems raised operational costs dramatically at the plant. Higher costs triggered Cork County Council to investigate a new strategy to deal with the recurrent issue. A technological solution was found working in partnership with DPS, EPS Group, and Irish Water. In the summer of 2020, LG Sonic MPC-Buoy systems were installed at the plant. MPC-Buoy is a sustainable and low maintenance solution that uses ultrasound technology to control algal blooms. 

Liam Fitzgerald, EPS Project Manager and responsible for the installation and maintenance of the buoys, said, “I wish I could tell you more” he smiled, “the buoy is visited by boat for a check at the beginning of the season, then is left to manage the algae on its own”. The ultrasound transmitters and water quality sensors are cleaned with motor-driven wipers, and real-time data is sent to an online dashboard for remote control.

Uninterrupted Services

Before using MPC-Buoy, aluminium sulphate dosages had to be doubled to treat the incoming raw water from the reservoir. An even more significant concern was the usage of clearwater during backwashing. These costs pushed the plant closer to the knife edge of using all the final water produced by the plant for backwashing.

Since using MPC-Buoy as part of the treatment strategy at Lake Cross Water Treatment Plant, the water supply has been uninterrupted, and thankfully, business is back to normal. Algae blooms have been significantly reduced. 

Overall, water quality has improved, and manganese levels are now under control. At the plant filter, runtimes have been uplifted by 140%, organics have been decreased on final water, and operational costs have been reduced. 

Working in Partnership

  • DPS specialises in water & wastewater treatment equipment, serving high-tech industries. 
  • EPS is a wet infrastructure specialist operating across Ireland, the UK and Northern Europe. 
  • Irish Water is Ireland’s national water utility established in 2013, bringing together 31 local water authorities across Ireland. Irish Water provides water and wastewater services to 80% of the country’s population.

Source: LG Sonic