Lake Taihu, located in southeast Jiangsu Province, China, is an important drinking water resource serving almost 2 million residents nearby. In recent years, eutrophication has led to more frequent cyanobacterial algae blooms whose metabolites, including 2-methylisoborneol (MIB), 1,10-dimethyl-trans-9-decalol (geosmin) and microcystin-LR (MC-LR), can be both toxic and unpalatable. Traditional treatment methods are expensive and often poorly remove these compounds. Since biodegradation has shown promise, the removal of MIB, geosmin and MC-LR in columns containing a mixture of quartz sand and Taihu lake bed sediment was tested. Results show that 24, 38.5 and 100% removal of MIB, geosmin and MC-LR, respectively, can be achieved at a 1 m d–1 flow rate through 30 cm long columns containing 10% Taihu sediment. Biodegradation rates derived from one-dimensional transport modeling were used to predict the performance of 2 m filtration beds of similar composition. The results indicate that satisfactory removal of MIB, geosmin and MC-LR can be achieved by this method.

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