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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


The filamentous green alga Cladophora grows to nuisance proportions in Lake Ontario. Stimulated by high phosphorus concentrations, nuisance growth results in the degradation of beaches and clogging of industrial water intakes with attendant loss of beneficial uses. We develop a multi-module bioavailable phosphorus model to examine the efficacy of phosphorus management strategies in mitigating nuisance algal growth. The model platform includes modules simulating hydrodynamics (FVCOM), phosphorus-phytoplankton dynamics (GEM) and Cladophora growth (GLCMv3). The model is applied along a 25 km stretch of the Lake Ontario nearshore, extending east from Toronto, ON and receiving effluent from three wastewater treatment plants. Simulation results identify the Duffin Creek wastewater treatment plant effluent as a driving force for nuisance conditions of Cladophora growth, as reflected in effluent bioavailable phosphorus concentrations and the dimensions of the plant’s phosphorus footprint. Simulation results demonstrate that phosphorus removal by chemically enhanced secondary treatment is insufficient to provide relief from nuisance conditions. Tertiary treatment (chemically enhanced secondary treatment with ballasted flocculation) is shown to eliminate phosphorus-saturated conditions associated with the Duffin Creek wastewater treatment plant effluent, providing local relief from nuisance conditions. Management guidance presented here has wider application at sites along the highly urbanized Canadian nearshore of Lake Ontario.

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© 2021 by the authors.Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Publisher’s version of record:

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Water (Switzerland)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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