What’s Wrong With Your Water? Our Scientists Can Help Identify Problem Microbes

image description

David Buzan

Aquatic Ecologist

What’s in your water?

Are you experiencing toxicity in your required toxicity tests but can’t identify the cause?

Did your raw water supply turn brown or green or pink but you don’t know why?

Our Environmental Science team can help identify organisms that are causing toxicity or discoloration when the source seems elusive.

Sometimes, microscopic plants and animals can cause unusual color changes that alarm members of the public. Our team can microscopically analyze water samples for algae that can cause taste and odor problems or toxicity. We can determine causes and help water systems find solutions.

Here are some examples of clients we’ve assisted:

  • One client contacted Freese and Nichols because they had an unusual growth clogging their water intake screens. They sent us samples, and our team microscopically identified the issue as a freshwater sponge that had covered the screens. Pinpointing the type of organism causing the problem allowed the client to focus on appropriate treatment methods.
  • Another client was unable to meet the toxicity limits for water fleas in their industrial wastewater discharge permit. Extensive chemical testing and multiple toxicity bioassays failed to reveal the cause of periodic violations of their chronic toxicity limits in their treated effluent. This operator was allowed to analyze water fleas in the receiving stream; if the water fleas in the effluent discharge appear healthy, the toxicity bioassay monitoring requirements will be reduced.

Private lake owners in much of South Texas also rely on us to determine if fish die-offs in their lakes and ponds are caused by toxic golden algae.

This microscope analytical capability extends to routine monitoring of phytoplankton and zooplankton to help water system owners and operators maintain a baseline understanding of water quality and how it may be affecting the biology of their water bodies.

In addition to microscopic analysis of water, the team can help analyze fish, aquatic insects, mussels, and plants in streams, lakes and estuaries.

To learn more, contact a member of our team: David Buzan, david.buzan@freese.com; Andy Labay, andrew.labay@freese.com; Aaron Petty, aaron.petty@freese.com; or Tam Tran, tam.tran@freese.com

Examples of problematic microorganisms

image description

David Buzan is an Aquatic Ecologist on Freese and Nichols’ Environmental Science team in Austin.