This paper investigates the influence of recycling gravity harvested algae on species dominance and harvest efficiency in wastewater treatment High Rate Algal Ponds (HRAP). Two identical pilot-scale HRAPs were operated over one year either with (HRAP(r)) or without (HRAP(c)) harvested algal biomass recycling. Algae were harvested from the HRAP effluent in algal settling cones (ASCs) and harvest efficiency was compared to settlability in Imhoff cones five times a week. A microscopic image analysis technique was developed to determine relative algal dominance based on biovolume and was conducted once a month. Recycling of harvested algal biomass back to the HRAP(r) maintained the dominance of a single readily settleable algal species (Pediastrum sp.) at >90% over one year (compared to the control with only 53%). Increased dominance of Pediastrum sp. greatly improved the efficiency of algal harvest (annual average of >85% harvest for the HRAP(r) compared with ∼60% for the control). Imhoff cone experiments demonstrated that algal settleability was influenced by both the dominance of Pediastrum sp. and the species composition of remaining algae. Algal biomass recycling increased the average size of Pediastrum sp. colonies by 13-30% ...Continue Reading
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