Anthropogenic nutrient pollution is one of the most serious threats facing aquatic systems in modern times. Pollution with compounds containing nitrogen and phosphorous encourages rapid development of autotrophic biomass, or blooms, that severely degrade the quality of an aquatic system both as a habitat for organisms and as a water resource for human use. In freshwater ponds, the widespread need for treatment of nutrient pollution and resulting blooms has resulted in the growth of a large industry dedicated to pond management and maintenance. These companies utilize a variety of chemical and non-chemical treatments to prevent the growth of blooms or limit their impact on humans and organisms that use the ponds. This study performed research and development on a new technology that utilizes bioremediation as a means of treating nutrient pollution and autotrophic blooms in freshwater ponds. The agent of bioremediation chosen for use was Chlorella sp. grown as a biofilm in a prototype pond water filtration system. Field trials lasting one year were performed on six freshwater ponds located throughout Central and Western New York to determine if the prototype was capable of reducing the percentage of each pond’s surface that was covered by bloom biomass. The results of the field trials suggest that Chlorella sp. biofilm filtration treatment is a commercially viable option for the treatment of Lemnoideae organisms such as Lemna sp. and Wolffia sp. The concentration of dissolved nitrate, phosphate, and ammonia in each pond was also monitored at three sites; statistically significant changes in the concentration of the target nutrients was observed at two sites via multiple linear regression utilizing percent surface cover as a response. The results of this analysis may allow Chlorella sp. biofilms to be utilized commercially as a bioremediation treatment for nutrient pollution in freshwater ponds.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Nutrient pollution of water--New York (State); Algae--Control; Water--Purification--Filtration; Biofilms; Eutrophication--Control; Freshwater ecology
Environmental Science (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences (COS)
Delp, Danielle, "Developing an algal biofilm filtration system for the remediation of nutrient pollution in freshwater ponds" (2015). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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