The FlowCam detects, identifies, and quantifies cyanobacteria, taste & odor algae, and filter clogging algae. Reports generated by the FlowCam help drinking water providers make treatment decisions within minutes of analyzing a sample.
How Does the FlowCam Work?
Introduce a water sample into the top of the FlowCam. A pump draws the sample through a cuvette and a camera photographs it as it flows. Any volume can be analyzed; data from a 1mL sample is acquired in 6 minutes. Image recognition software and fluorescence excitation emissions are leveraged to semi-automate the identification of the organisms in each sample.
Reports are exported into Excel in CSV format and contain the following information for each taxonomic group: count, concentration, biovolume, and other morphological statistics. This information enables drinking water providers to forecast algal and cyanobacterial events and monitor current events in near real-time, improving the treatment process.
Use the FlowCam technology throughout the water treatment process to ensure efficiency and quickly detect any issues.
UCMR is revealing new requirements dictating that water providers must monitor cyanobacteria. Toxin assays, such as ELISA, are notoriously complex and expensive. Drinking water providers are seeking FlowCam technology as a means of confirming whether cyanobacteria are present in the system. Should the FlowCam confirm the presence or identify a concerning quantity of cyanobacteria, a targeted toxin test can be conducted in parallel with FlowCam results.
Taste and odor organisms, such as Lyngbya (a cyanobacteria), plague treatment plants. Knowing when a bloom is pending enables water providers to treat the water before it becomes a severe issue. Regular sampling provides consistent data that supports forecasting efforts. Read about how Newport News Waterworks is using FlowCam technology to manage taste and odor algae.
Pre-Treatment Optimization and Filter Fouling
Filter issues can affect plant performance and increase the cost of plant operation. Filter clogging diatoms and other algal species are larger than the pore size of typical water plant filters. Filter fouling occurs as diatoms and other rejected particles accumulate at the media surface. This algal slime contributes to a greater resistance to filtration, reduced filter runs, and the need for frequent backwash cycles.
The algae monitoring capabilities of the FlowCam accelerates sample processing to just a few minutes. With faster and more accurate detection, identification of the presence of nuisance algae enables remedial action before the algae bloom clogs the filter system.
Water treatment plant performance is evaluated by methods such as turbidity, particle counting, and microscopic particulate analysis (MPA). While MPA combined with particle counting provides critical information about the type and number of organisms and particles present, it is a time- consuming process.
The FlowCam accelerates sample processing to just a few minutes, and combines the imaging aspect of MPA with the particle distribution and concentration information of particle counting. The analysis compares the type, size, and quantities of bioindicators and particles found in the raw water to those found in the treated water. These methods provide a unique view and can be used to evaluate filtration efficiencies (or log removal) in conventional and membrane filtration systems.