Monitoring the Delco Reservoirs for Algal Bloom Susceptibility

Student: Aliyah Hannig ’21
Research Mentor: Nathan Rowley (OWU Department of Geology-Geography)

The Delco reservoirs are drinking water reservoirs located in Delaware Ohio. Being that they are an open reservoir with no shade coverage, they are susceptible to algal blooms. Algal blooms are made up of cyanobacteria, which are a phylum of bacteria that thrive on photosynthesis. A treatment option that we enacted is the use of phosphorus to treat the water and get rid of the cyanobacteria. It has to actively be sunny for this treatment option to work, because the cyanobacteria have to actively be feeding in order to absorb the phosphorus.

I have been monitoring the Delco reservoirs for algal bloom susceptibility. I used a data sonde which measures water quality variables such as pH and Chlorophyll levels. I also used a drone to fly over the water to monitor algae from the air. A trend I noticed is that the more acidic pH and the higher chlorophyll levels, the higher the threat of algal blooms within the drinking water reservoirs.