ASDWA HABs and Toxins Group Call Held this Week

The ASDWA Drinking Water Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and Toxins Discussion Group call was held this week with state drinking water programs from across the country, as well as a few EPA staff from Headquarters and Regions.  During the call, Mike Baker and Heather Raymond of Ohio, Casey Lyon of Oregon, plus a few other states, shared information about their efforts to address cyanotoxins in drinking water, as follows.

  • Ohio has updated its Public Water System Harmful Algal Bloom Response Strategy that includes the new EPA health advisory levels for microcystin and cylindrospermopsin in addition to state health advisory levels for saxitoxin and anatoxin-a.  The flow chart in the strategy provides a decision making process for sampling, analysis, and public notice considerations for water systems as they monitor for and detect cyanotoxins in their raw and/or finished water.  Ohio is also:  instructing its water systems to include HABs response protocols in their contingency plans; providing grants to water systems to conduct their own laboratory analyses; working with stakeholders to develop draft cyanotoxin rules; and using a new cost effective Multiplex qPCR testing method that quickly Identifies and quantifies the presence of four different cyanotoxins and three gene species responsible for producing them.  For more information, visit Ohio’s web site and see the new cyanotoxin monitoring mapping tool.  For questions, please contact Heather Raymond at or 614-644-2752.
  • Oregon has published a HABS Best Management Practices document for water systems that now includes EPA’s new health advisory levels in its updated tables.  The state also plans to take samples at some private wells that may be impacted by a nearby HAB in the Klamath River to determine potential impacts on groundwater.  For more information, visit Oregon’s Algae Resources for Drinking Water web site.
  • New Hampshire has a few water systems that are participating in an EPA Region 1 bloom watch network and will work with another state program office to develop a protocol for conducting toxin monitoring in lakes.
  • California has been holding yearly workshops with its water systems; is encouraging its water systems to voluntarily develop HAB management plans; and is working with the Department of Public Health on developing public notice language.
  • Washington has published an article about EPA’s new HAs in the drinking water programs newsletter for water systems and published a Fact Sheet.
  • New York is working with its regional offices in the state to develop a new HAB response guide for its water systems that is expected to be finalized in the near future.

For more information about drinking water HABs and Cyanotoxins, visit EPA’s web site.