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Managing taste and odour metabolite production in drinking water reservoirs: The importance of ammonium as a key nutrient trigger

Perkins, R. G. ORCID:, Slavin, E. I., Andrade, T. M. C., Blenkinsopp, C., Pearson, P., Froggatt, T., Godwin, G., Parslow, J., Hurley, S., Luckwell, R. and Wain, D.J. 2019. Managing taste and odour metabolite production in drinking water reservoirs: The importance of ammonium as a key nutrient trigger. Journal of Environmental Management 244 , pp. 276-284. 10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.04.123

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Taste and odour (T&O) compounds (most commonly 2-MIB and Geosmin) in drinking water are becoming an increasingly global problem for water management. Here, the trigger(s) for 2-MIB and Geosmin production were investigated in Plas Uchaf reservoir (North Wales, UK) with detailed water sample analysis between 2015 and 2016. Historical abstraction data from this reservoir and 4 reservoirs in Somerset (England, UK) were compared statistically using Self-Organising Map (SOM) analysis. In-reservoir measurements (2015–2016) revealed an 85% reduction in ammonium from the primary external loading source led to lower 2-MIB and Geosmin concentrations, with peak concentrations of 2-MIB declining from 60 to 21  ng l−1 and Geosmin declining from 140 to 18  ng l−1. No other measured water chemistry parameter showed a significant difference between years. The SOM results support the in-reservoir findings, revealing 2-MIB and Geosmin to be associated with high ammonium relative to nitrate for all 5 reservoirs. We conclude that ammonium is key for stimulating cyanobacterial productivity and production of T&O compounds. Whilst it is well understood that adequate availability of phosphorus is required for rapid growth in cyanobacteria, and hence should still be considered in management decisions, we suggest that monitoring sources and concentrations of ammonium is key for managing T&O outbreaks in drinking water reservoirs.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0301-4797
Funders: NERC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 June 2019
Date of Acceptance: 30 April 2019
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 07:58

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