Harmful Algal Blooms

Information for Public Water Systems

harmful algal bloom on a lakeCyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) are microscopic organisms found naturally in surface water that can sometimes multiply to form harmful algal blooms (HABs).  HABs can potentially produce toxins capable of causing illness or irritation -- sometimes even death -- in pets, livestock, and humans.  In addition to producing toxins, cyanobacteria can pose other treatment challenges for public water systems including taste and odor and shortened filter run times. The information below is provided to assist public water system operators with preventing, identifying and responding to HABs.

Funding Opportunities for Cyanotoxin Testing Equipment and Infrastructure Improvements

Cyanotoxin Grant Application Extended: The June 1, 2015 deadline has been removed for submitting grant applications for cyanotoxin testing equipment and training. Applications will be accepted as long as funds are available.

  • Grant Application and Guidelines for Cyanotoxin Testing Equipment 
    Ohio EPA has increased the amount of grant funds available for cyantoxin testing equipment for each public water system using surface water to $20,000 (from $10,000). These funds may be used for the purchase of equipment, supplies and training for analysis of toxins associated with harmful algal blooms (HABs), such as:
    • ELISA method test kits for microcystin (ADDA) and other cyanotoxins (includes lab supplies);
    • Microscope for algae identification and attachable camera;
    • Sondes with any or all of the following sensors: Phycocyanin, Chlorophyll, Conductivity, Temperature, and pH (includes installation, telemetry, datalogger, buoy, additional equipment);
    • Sampling equipment (such as integrated depth sampler, Van Dorn sampler, Wisconsin sampler/phytoplankton net);
    • Training associated with any of the above activities.
  • Grant Opportunity for Cyanotoxin Testing Equipment for Water Systems Webinar
    • Questions and Answers from August 15, 2014 (Word) (PDF)
    • Questions and Answers from August 22, 2014  (Word) (PDF)

Guidance for Conducting ELISA Testing for Microcystin

For more information on funding incentives, click here.

Prevention and Treatment

Learn more about types of treatment to address HABs: