Eliminated chemical usage in the raw water reservoir


Research by Dr. Orren Schneider et. al.


Copper-based algaecides


Operations and maintenance costs

Seven years of partnership

From 2014, when the initial Dutch-American collaboration began, until the present moment, there have been many achievements along the way. American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. public water and wastewater utility.

Initially, American Water needed to control toxic algae and cyanobacteria present in the Canoe Brook Water Treatment Plant in Short Hills, New Jersey. Additionally, it was necessary to eliminate foul odor and taste issues. The reservoir was shallow (max. 17 feet deep) and eutrophic due to moderate-high levels of nutrients. This combination of factors lead to seasonally excessive algal blooms, as well as impaired filter runs.

Peer-reviewed research

The first step towards determining wether LG Sonic’s ultrasound technology would solve the challenges was to conduct extensive research. This was done by installing MPC-Buoy systems within the reservoir and monitoring key water parameters.

Top water experts joined forces to compile a comprehensive report that would bring the American utility one step closer to its desired water quality. Dr. Orren D. Schneider (Water Quality Expert with 30+ years of experience), Dr. Lauren Weinrich (Senior Scientist at Water Research & Development department of American Water), and Scott Brezinski (Water Quality and Environmental Compliance Manager).

Eliminated chemical usage

In the past, the reservoir had been treated with copper sulfate or Cutrine-Plus (copper ethanolamine complex); hence, the secondary objective of the project was to decrease chemical dosing.

It was indeed possible to entirely eliminate algaecide use in the raw water reservoir. As compared to the same time period in 2013, results showed:

  • Improved DAF effluent turbidity (37% lower)
  • Lower combined filter effluent turbidities (19% lower)
  • Longer filter runs (127% better)
  • Higher unit filter run volumes (83% higher)

Return of investment

Overall, the use of the MPC-Buoys resulted in OPEX savings of approximately $87,800 (based on projected chemical savings compared to 2013, elimination of copper treatment for the reservoir, and reduced monitoring costs).

In March 2015, American Water and LG Sonic received the Business Achievement Award from Environmental Business Journal (EBJ) for this successful algae control project.

Ongoing collaboration

Since the first installation in New Jersey, American Water has deployed MPC-Buoy systems in other water reservoirs within Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Maryland.

American Water Pennsylvania
This project began in April 2017. Two MPC-Buoy systems were installed in the Coatesville reservoir (55 acres) with the intention to reduce algal blooms and decrease chemical dosing. The reservoir is being used as a source of drinking water.

American Water Iowa
In Iowa, two LG Sonic buoys are still controlling toxic algae in two sedimentation basins. The systems were installed in April 2019 with the goal of preventing algae growth.

American Water Maryland

In case of drought, Mount Soma Reservoir becomes the emergency water supply for the city of Bel Air, Maryland. The reservoir has the capacity to store up to 90 million gallons of raw water, which in turn can secure drinking water for 100 days of drought.

American Water Maryland chose LG Sonic’s ultrasound technology in order to stop algal growth and to maintain a high quality of raw water. The project won the ENR MidAtlantic 2019 Best Project in the Water/Environment category. Judges awarded AW Maryland for using LG Sonic technology as it “helps alleviate environmental concerns and reduces chemical usage and related costs by an estimated 20%”.

Orren Schneider, Ph.D

“Extensive testing conducted during 2014 showed that the buoys had a significant impact on the algae, allowing the plant to reduce chemical consumption by more than 20 percent, and reducing the concentration of undesirable taste and odor causing compounds in the treated water delivered to customers”.

Orren Schneider, Manager Water Technology American Water


Project details

Location New Jersey, US Industry Drinking water Client American Water
  • Improvement in the water quality
  • 22% reduction in chemicals in the WTP
  • 100% chemical reduction in the raw water reservoir
  • Return of investment (ROI) of < 1.8 years

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Applied product

LG Sonic developed the MPC-Buoy specifically for larger water surfaces such as cooling reservoirs and drinking water reservoirs.