The reduction of Chlorella vulgaris concentrations through UV-C radiation treatments: A nature-based solution (NBS)

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Algal blooms have become a pressing issue in inland freshwater systems on local and global scales. A plausible approach to reducing algae without the use of chemical/biological agents is through the use of UV-C radiation from lamps potentially powered by in situ solar panels to eliminate algae. Yet, the quantitative scientific base has not been established. Our objective is to conduct a controlled experiment to quantify the effectiveness of UV-C radiation on the reduction of Chlorella vulgaris, a common algal species in the Great Lakes region. A full factorial design of three intensities of UV-C radiation (0, 15, and 30 W) and three sources of C. vulgaris was constructed to test the corresponding hypotheses. Empirical models were constructed to predict the reductions. UV-C radiation effectively reduced the algal concentration with clear differences by radiation level and source of algal water. Algal concentration decreased exponentially over time, with distinct decreasing trends among the radiation intensities and the samples. With 15 W UV-C radiation, algal concentration of three samples were reduced to 75.3%, 51.5%, and 70.0% of the initial level within an hour, respectively. We also found a clear density-dependent reduction rate by UV radiation. Using this information, more efficient treatment systems could be constructed and implemented for cleaning algae-contaminated water.

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