cyanobacteria on lake

Although naturally occurring the proliferation of the bacteria in our waterways has in large part been due to runoff of fertilizers from farmers’ fields and improper wastewater treatment released into our waterways.   A “significant portion of such fertilizer is still making its way through the soil and water to the sea.  As a result, algae and other microorganisms take up the nitrogen, bloom, and, after they die, suck the oxygen out of coastal waters.”[1]  When this occurs a “dead zone” is created and fish and vegetation are compromised or killed off. 

Cyanobacteria, or commonly known as blue-green algae is a food source for our bacteria; hence our bacteria is very effective at the reduction of blue-green algae in the waterways. 

“Cyanobacteria can be found in almost every terrestrial and aquatic habitatoceansfreshwater, damp soil, temporarily moistened rocks in deserts, bare rock and soil, and even Antarctic rocks.  Aquatic cyanobacteria are known for their extensive and highly visible blooms that can form in both freshwater and marine environments. The blooms can have the appearance of blue-green paint or scum. These blooms can be toxic and frequently lead to the closure of recreational waters when spotted.  Based on environmental trends, models and observations suggest cyanobacteria will likely increase their dominance in aquatic environments. This can lead to serious consequences, particularly the contamination of sources of drinking water. Cyanobacteria can interfere with water treatment in various ways, primarily by plugging filters (often large beds of sand and similar media) and by producing cyanotoxins, which have the potential to cause serious illness if consumed.”[1]

Health issues for humans and pets can “cause skin irritation, rash, sore throat, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and has been linked to neurological conditions, including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer’s disease.”[3]  Every summer government agencies provide “blue-algae” alerts and lake warnings and closures of lakes throughout the country.

[1] Wikipedia, Cyanobacterium (genus)

[2] Scientific America, Fertilizer Runoff Overwhelms Streams and Rivers–Creating Vast “Dead Zones”, David Biello

[3] Environmental Science Engineering Magazine, Blue-green algae blooms plague Canada’s lakes this summer


To learn more about our bacterial solutions to rid our waterways of cyanobacteria, A.K.A. blue-green algae, contact us at Wet Tech Environmental