Improve Your Water Monitoring & Treatment Process with FlowCam®

water-treatment-main-imageThe 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.   

Download FlowCam Cyano Brochure  Download FlowCam 8000 Brochure

What's in Your Water?

Use the FlowCam technology throughout the water treatment process to ensure efficiency and quickly detect any issues.  

  • Identify and enumerate cyanobacteria, taste & odor algae and other nuisance algae
  • Obtain cell counts of colonial and filamentous cyanobacteria, including mycrocystis and anabaena (check out the application note)
  • Detect filter fouling algae
  • Differentiate between cyanobacteria and green algae
  • Calculate concentration of each taxa
  • Monitor diatom presence to preserve filter performance
  • Count and measure any particle in a water sample (e.g., sediment)

Cyanobacteria Monitoring 

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 & Odor Events

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. 


Filtration Optimization

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.

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FlowCam® Image Gallery - Nuisance Algae

  • Anabaena sp

    Anabaena sp.

  • Ankistrodesmus_arcuatus

    Ankistrodesmus arcuatus

  • Botryococcus_sp._NCMA_2742

    Botryococcus sp.

  • Chlamydomonas_sp._(cold_climate_species)_NCMA_1619

    Chlamydomonas sp.

  • Cryptomonas_pyrenoidifera_NCMA_1167

    Cryptomonas pyrenoidifera

  • Cylindrospermopsis_racoborskii_NCMA_1973

    Cylindrospermopsis racoborskii

  • Euglena_sanguinea_UTEX_LB_2345

    Euglena sanguinea

  • Mallomonas_adamas_NCMA_1783

    Mallomonas adamas

  • Pediastrum boryanum var.cornutum UTEX LB 470

    Pediastrum boryanum var. cornutum

  • Phormidium_inundatum_UTEX_LB_2517

    Phormidium inundatum

  • Scenedesmus quadricauda UTEX LB 614

    Scenedesmus quadricauda 

  • Uroglenopsis americana NCMA 2769

    Uroglenopsis americana

  • Volvox aureus UTEX LB 106

    Volvox aureus

  • Volvox spermatosphaera UTEX LB 2273

    Volvox spermatosphaera


Nuisance Algae Guide

Contains 49 different nuisance algae and cyanobacteria species imaged by FlowCAM. 

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Article Download

See how the FlowCam is minimizing taste and odor complaints in the Wachusett Reservoir in Central Massachusetts. 

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Customer Spotlight

See how a sudden taste-and-odor incident prompted the city of Westminster, CO to try the FlowCam for algae detection.