Malignant microscopic monsters: future research needed regarding freshwater harmful algal blooms


Author/Creator ORCID





Towson Seminar

Citation of Original Publication



[From paper]: On August 2nd, 2014, an urgent message was sent out to the people of Toledo, Ohio from the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant: DO NOT DRINK THE WATER. Chemists had detected higher than normal concentrations of microcystin, a hazardous toxin, in the drinking water supply. Suddenly, 400,000 people no longer had access to safe public drinking water. Local officials panicked as health and safety personnel rushed to fix the problem. People from across the community banded together to help each other as restaurants shut down and businesses closed. The local militia set up a water distribution center for those in need and retail stores ordered express shipments of plastic water bottles. Finally, a few days after the excess microcystin was first detected, Toledo’s Mayor declared the water once again safe for consumption. The increased level of microcystin in the drinking water supply was the product of a freshwater harmful algal bloom which had formed on Lake Erie. The toxins produced by the freshwater harmful algal bloom had seeped through the intake for the plant and were not removed by the treatment process. While this was not the first incident caused by freshwater harmful algal blooms, it most certainly will not be the last. The increasing incidence of freshwater harmful algal blooms in reservoirs and recreational lakes necessitates greater federal funding for research into their adverse health effects and effective, eco-friendly ways of controlling them.