Frequently asked questions about cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins
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- Last Updated: July 10, 2018 July 10, 2018
Where can I find more information on cyanobacteria, harmful algae blooms, or cyanotoxins?
Additional information is available at several websites including:
- OHA Drinking Water Services: Cyanotoxins in Drinking Water (including health effects)
- EPA: Cyanobacteria/Cyanotoxins
- Oregon Department of Environmental Quality: Harmful Algal Blooms
- OHA Environmental Public Health: Harmful Algae Blooms
- Oregon Veterinary Medical Association: Toxic Algae: Hazard for Dogs
What is the difference between blue-green algae and cyanobacteria?
Both terms refer to the same group of organisms.
Is a health advisory for cyanotoxins the same as a boil water notice?
No. If cyanotoxins are present in the treated drinking water, a health advisory is issued based on the concentration of cyanotoxin in the water and will recommend using another source of drinking water. A boil water notice would not be issued for cyanotoxins.
Will boiling water remove cyanotoxins?
Boiling water does not remove cyanotoxins and is not recommended.
I have a home water filtration system. Will it remove cyanotoxins?
Some filters are capable of removing cyanotoxins but most are not. Check with the manufacturer of your system to be sure.
What does it mean that the health advisory is based on a 10-day exposure?
The term “10-day exposure” describes the way toxicologists have calculated the levels of cyanotoxins that present a risk to different groups. The health advisory levels are concentrations of cyanotoxin that an individual could drink at normal daily rates for 10 days before any adverse health effect would be expected. Regular daily intake of water with cyanotoxins above a health advisory level for fewer than 10 consecutive days, would not be expected to cause a health problem. This EPA factsheet explains how the 10-day exposure levels were developed.
How would the City of Albany notify the public of a local health advisory?
The City notifies the public through news releases, website and social media postings, FlashAlert, Nixle, and the Linn-Benton Alert system.
To sign up for one or more of these notification systems, visit cityofalbany.net/em/connect.
|Drinking Water User||Anatoxin-a||Cylindrospermopsin||Microcystins||Saxitoxins|
|Adults||3 ppb||3 ppb||1.6 ppb||1.6 ppb|
|Children (5 and under), Vulnerable Adults, and Pets||0.7 ppb||0.7 ppb||0.3 ppb||0.3 ppb|
Where does Albany’s drinking water come from?
Albany is fortunate to have two drinking water sources. The main stem of the Santiam River provides water for the Albany-Millersburg treatment plant while the Vine Street plant takes water from the South Santiam River. The Albany-Millersburg water intake is in the river while water from the South Santiam River travels down the 18-mile Santiam-Albany Canal before entering the Vine Street plant.
How does Albany treat drinking water?
Albany has two drinking water treatment facilities. The Vine Street Water Treatment Plant has two tanks that settle out solid particles from the water before sending it to a set of rapid sand filters that are the primary treatment technology. The newer Albany-Millersburg Water Treatment Plant uses microfiltration membranes to remove contaminants.
For more information on Albany’s drinking water, please read the Annual Water Quality Report.