ASDWA Drinking Water HABs and Toxins Discussion Group Call Held

On September 4, the ASDWA Drinking Water Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and Toxins Discussion Group held a call that featured information about two events of interest:

  • Toledo Ohio Algae Incident:  Mike Baker and Heather Raymond of the Ohio EPA Drinking Water Program shared information with the group about the Toledo, Ohio algal toxin incident including the sampling activities and results, decision-making processes, and actions that were taken to address the problem.  Ongoing efforts and follow up activities are also being undertaken to help address HABs and toxins in the western basin of Lake Erie.  For example, Toledo has now installed a buoy for sampling where the data is available online to the public at: The data parameters from the buoy include pH level, temperature, chlorophyll, turbidity, and more.  USGS has additional buoys in place in Lake Erie and NOAA and NASA are supporting efforts to monitor the Lake using photo and satellite imagery.  In addition, Ohio EPA is now providing $10K grants to water systems to conduct their own sampling and EPA’s Office of Research and Development is working with the Ohio EPA Drinking Water Program and some of the western basin (Lake Erie) water systems on refining treatment processes (including adjusting potassium permanganate levels and PAC contact time) for maximum toxin removal.  If you would like to hear more about the incident, Mike Baker will be providing a presentation at our Annual Conference in late October in Albuquerque, NM.
  • Manatee County Florida HAB Efforts and Experiences:  Bruce MacLeod of the Manatee County Water Treatment Facility in Bradenton, Florida, shared their efforts to address and treat for HABs in their water supply reservoir.  Manatee County gets approximately 67 percent of its water from Lake Manatee and 33 percent from ground water.  High nutrient levels stemming from a local phosphorous mining operation and orange growers using tile drains around the lake have caused Cyanobacteria blooms (mostly Anabaena) and taste and odor problems (2-Methylisoborneol (MIB) and Geosmin).  Some of the facility’s efforts include:  collecting samples throughout the lake on a routine basis to count cyanobacteria toxins and odor compounds, plus microcystin in key areas; implementing watershed treatment and controls including purchasing land, restricting development, conducting education and outreach activities; performing pilot plant studies and testing on the effectiveness of various treatment strategies using Powder Activated Carbon (PAC) and a biological roughing filter (BRF); and planning future efforts to determine the effectiveness of BRF on the removal of emerging contaminants (including toxins) at the bench-scale level.

For more information about HABs and Toxins, visit ASDWA’s web site at: