Toxic algae blooms cause dire warnings about city water supply

July 8, 2018 |

In Oregon, Salem’s city government and residents are worried about the recent surge of a toxic algae bloom detected in the city’s water supply. City residents had dire warning messages sent to their cellphones that said, “Civil emergency. prepare for action.” While the drinking water advisory was lifted after several days, it then had to be re-issued again, affecting the 150,000 people who rely on that water supply.

Officials also warned that dozens of other water supplies could be vulnerable, and indeed, when workers from the city of Cottage Grove inspected another reservoir, they found a bloom, according to a report by Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Testing for the blooms isn’t required by either federal or state law, officials noted.

With an uptick in toxic algae blooms across the U.S. due to global warming, researchers and city governments are concerned about the implications on human health and the drinking water supply.

“When water bodies warm up earlier and stay warmer longer … you increase the number of incidents,” said Wayne Carmichael, a retired Wright State University professor specializing in the organisms. “That’s just logical, and it’s being borne out.”


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