As shown by the recent events in Toledo, OH, cyanotoxins can cause major issues for water utilities and their customers. Cyanotoxins (also known as algal toxins) are natural toxins produced by cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that may cause human health impacts if ingested with drinking water or by skin contact in recreational waters. The incidence of cyanobacterial blooms in surface water is a worldwide phenomenon and there is a risk that a changing climate, continued urbanization, and increased nutrient loading of source waters may contribute to more frequent and intense cyanobacterial blooms in drinking water sources in the future. The Webcast will provide information that will help utilities better understand issues associated with cyanotoxins and identify the necessary tools to prepare for and address potential cyanobacteria/cyanptoxin events.
This Webcast is based on the WRF/AWWA Partnership Project,
Cyanotoxin Guides for Water Utility Managers
(WRF #4548, AWWA/WITAF #270). The purpose of this project is to develop two cyanotoxin utility action guides designed for use by water utility management and staff, plus a list of research needs. The first guide will consist of a summary of cyanotoxin occurrence trends, potential health effects, preemptive and mitigation strategies, and mitigation challenges. This guide is intended to help water systems recognize if cyanotoxins may be an issue for their utility and what initial steps to consider. The second guide will be an action oriented synthesis of relevant literature for utility personnel and the water utility community, providing information necessary to guide development of a technically sound evaluation of cyanotoxins as a water quality concern for the drinking water supply and appropriate mitigation measures.
The Webcast provided an overview of the major findings and action items from the project. The project guides will be available in early-2015.