Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering

Degree Level



Civil Engineering


Zhang, Wen

Committee Member/Reader

Braham, Andrew

Committee Member/Second Reader

Fernstrom, Eric


Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) have the ability to cause detriment to water bodies, ecosystems, and human health. Furthermore, current evidence suggests that these events are becoming increasingly common due to factors such as increased pollution and global warming. While there are current methods to treat water that is negatively impacted by the bacteria and toxins associated with HABs, these methods are often costly and inefficient. The purpose of this research is to explore a potential treatment option that uses titanium dioxide photocatalytic nanoparticles attached to a retractable net to treat toxins produced by HABs in situ. Specifically, the toxin of interest for these tests is microcystin-LR (MC-LR). While prior research has provided a promising basis for the proposed treatment in sterile conditions, there has been limited research conducted on how the nanoparticles will react in more realistic settings. The goal of this research is to build on the prior research and test the proposed treatment in real lake water samples. Three experiments were designed to achieve this goal. The goal of the first experiment was to observe the effect the nanoparticles have on MC-LR in real lake water samples. The second experiment was to test the role of suspended particles in lake water in MC-LR degradation. The third experiment was to verify past research and to provide a benchmark for MC-LR degradation comparison. Results showed TiO2 nanoparticles could degrade MC-LR in DI water but was not effective in real lake water. Removal of suspended particles by filtration in lake water could enable the MC-LR degradation by nanoparticles, but at a much slower rate compared to DI water. The results of these tests can then be used to determine what the best course of action is for future research on this proposed treatment.


Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Water Resources