An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »


A Strategy for Early Warning Cyanotoxin Producing and Rapidly Detecting Toxic Species to Protect Source Water in Oregon and Washington States

The city of Salem, Oregon recently had to issue a drinking water advisory due to the presence of cyanotoxins in the water supply. This is one example that has led to the increased concern across the Pacific Northwest regarding Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms (cyanoHABs). Water quality managers are currently limited in their ability to forecast the emergence of toxin-producing algal blooms and so must also rely on time-intensive laboratory analysis to directly detect species. Researchers will use advanced genetic analysis to get rapid onsite results that can quantify and identify problem species and aid in the development of predictive models. These advances will not only allow for early warning and a better understanding of the factors that lead to cyanoHABs development, but will also provide more detailed and timely information that could enable preventive management to avoid the formation and mitigate the effects of cyanoHABs.

Contacts: Jingrang Lu; Eric Villegas; Rochelle Labiosa; Thomas Waters; Mark Jankowski; Cyndi Grafe