Cyanobacterial toxin removal in drinking water treatment processes and recreational waters

  • Judy A Westrick
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 619)


Although federal drinking water regulations determine the quality of potable water, many specifics influence how each utility chooses to treatment water. Some of the specifics include source water quality, storage capacity, existing unit process, and space. An overview of the US recreational and drinking water regulations were discussed in context of cyanobacterial toxin removal and inactivation by ancillary as well as auxiliary treatment practices. Ancillary practice refers to the removal or inactivation of algal toxins by standard daily operational procedures where auxiliary treatment practice refers to intentional treatment. An example of auxiliary treatment would be the addition of powder activated carbon to remove taste and odor compounds. The implementation of new technologies as such ultraviolet disinfection and membrane filtration, to meet current and purposed regulations, can greatly affect the algal toxin removal and inactivation efficiencies. A discussion on meeting the current regulations by altering chemical disinfection, ozone, chlorine, chloramines and chlorine dioxide included their ancillary effects on the protection against algal toxins. Although much of the research has been on the efficiency of the removal and inactivation of microcystin LR and several microcystin variants, the discussion included other algal toxins: anatoxin–a, saxitoxins, and cyclindrospermopsin.


Reverse Osmosis Granular Activate Carbon Powder Activate Carbon Drinking Water Treatment Chlorine Dioxide 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Acero JL, Rodriguez, E, Meriluoto, J (2005) Kinetics of reaction between chlorine and the cyanobacterial toxin microcystins. Water Research 39:1628–1638.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bruchet A, Bernazeau F, Baudin I, Peironne P (1998) Algal toxins in surface water analysis and treatment. Water Supply 16 (1–2):619–623.Google Scholar
  3. Carmicheal WW (2001) Assessment of Blue–Green Algal Toxins in Raw and Finished Drinking Water. AWWA Research FoundationGoogle Scholar
  4. Carlile PR (1994) Further Studies to Investigate Microcystin–LR and Anatoxin–a Removal from Water. Report No. 0458, Foundation of Research, UK.Google Scholar
  5. Chorus I and Bartram J (1999) Toxic Cyanbacteria in Water: A Guide to their Public Health Consequences, Monitoring and Management. London, UK: E & FN Spon.Google Scholar
  6. Chow C, Drikas M, House J, Burch M, Velzeboer R, Gimbel R (1997) A study of membrane filtration for the removal of cyanobacterial cells AQUA 46(6):324–334.Google Scholar
  7. Cook D and Newcombe G (2002) Removal of microcystin variants with powdered activated carbon. Water Science Techonology:Water Supply, 2 (5–6):201–207.Google Scholar
  8. Cornish IT, Lawton LA, Robertson P (2000) Hydrogen peroxide enhanced photocatalytic oxidation of microcystin–LR using titanium dioxide. Applied Catalyst B: Environmental 25:481–485.Google Scholar
  9. Drikas, M, Chow CWK, House J, Burch MD (2001) Using coagulation, flocculation, and settling to remove toxic cyanobacteria. Journal of American Water Works Association 93:2:100.Google Scholar
  10. EPA Guidance Manual (May 2003) Appendix A. Glossary. LT1ESWTR Disinfection Profiling and Benchmarking. 103Google Scholar
  11. Fawell J, Hart J, James H, Parr W (1993) Blue–green algae and their toxins: analysis, treatment, and environmental Control. Water Supply 11(3–4) 243–249.Google Scholar
  12. Feng C, Sugiura N, Masaoka Y, Masaoka T (2005) Electrochemical Degradation of Microcystin–LR. Journal of Environmental Science and Health A40:453–465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fritz AJ, Waite TD, Jones GJ, Boyden BH, Orr PT (1999) Photocatalytic degradation of the blue green algal toxin microcystin–LR in a natural organic–aqueous matrix. 33(2):243–249.Google Scholar
  14. Hart J, Fawell J, Croll B (1998) The fate of bath intra and extracellular toxins during drinking water treatment. Water Supply 16(1–2):611–616.Google Scholar
  15. Himberg K, Keijola A, Hiisvirta L, Pyysalo H, Sivonen (1989) The effect of Water Treatment Processes on the removal of hepatotoxins from Microcystis and Oscillatoria Cyanobacteria: A Laboratory Study. Water Research 23 (8): 979–984CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ho L, Newcombe G, Rinck–Pfeiffer (2005) submitted to Water ResearchGoogle Scholar
  17. Hoeger SJ, Hitzfield BC, and Dietrich DR (2005) Occurene and elimination of cyanobacterial toxins in drinking water treatment plants. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 203 231–242.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Keijola A, Himberg K, Esala A, Sivonen K, Kiisvirata L (1988) Removal of cyaonbacterail toxins in water treatment processes: laboratory and pilot plant experiments. Toxicological Assessment 3:643–656.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kull T, Backlund PH, Karlsson KM, Meriluoto JA (2004) Oxidation of the Cyanobacterial Hepatotoxin Microcystin–LR by Chlorine Dioxide: Reaction Kinetics, Characterization, and Toxicity of Reaction Products. Environmental Science Technology 38:6025–6031.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lawton LA, Robertson, PK (1999) Physio–chemical treatment methods for the removal of microcystins (cyanobacterial hepatotoxins) from potable waters. Chemical Society Review 28(4):217–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Muntisov M and Tromboli P (1996) Removal of algal toxins using membrane technology. Water Journal Australian Water Association 23(3):34.Google Scholar
  22. Neumann, U and Wecknesser J (1998) Elimination of microcystin peptide toxins from water by reverse osmosis. Envirnomential Toxicology Water Quality 13(2):143–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Newcombe, G and Nicholson BC (2002a) Treatment options for the saxitoxins class of cynatoxins. Water Science and Technology:Water Supply 2(5–6):271–275.Google Scholar
  24. Newcombe G (2002b) Removal of Algal Toxins from Drinking Water Using Ozone and GAC. Denver, Colorado: American Water Works Research Foundation.Google Scholar
  25. Newcombe G and Nicholson B (2004) Water treatment options for dissolved cyanotoxins. Journal of Water Supply and Technology–AQUA 52(4):227–239.Google Scholar
  26. Nicholson BC, Rositano J, Burch MD (1994) Destruction of cyanobacterial peptide heptatotoxins by chlorine and chloramines. Water Research 28:1297–1303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nicholson BC, Shaw GR, Morrell J, Senogles PJ, Woods TA, Papageorgiou C, Kapralos C, Wickramasinghe W, Davis BC, Eaglesham GK, Moore MR (2003) Chlorination for degrading saxitoxins (paralytic shellfish poison) in water. Environmental Technology 24:1341–1348.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Qiao RP, Li N, Qi XH, Wang QS, Zhuang YY (2005) Degradation of microcystin–RR by UV radiation in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. Toxin 45(6);745–752.Google Scholar
  29. Rositano J, Nicholson B, and Pieronne P (1998) Destruction of cyanobacterial toxins by ozone. Ozone Science Engineering 20:223–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rositano J, Newcombe G, Nicholson B, Sztajnbok P (2001) Ozonation of NOM and alglal toxins in four treated waters. Water Research 36(1):23–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Senogles P, Shaw G, Smith M., Norris R., Chiswell R., Mueller J, Sadler R. Eaglesham (2000) Degradation of the cyanobacterial toxin cylindrospermopsin from Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii, by chlorination. Toxin 38:1203–1213.Google Scholar
  32. Senogles PJ, Smith M, Shaw G (2001) Photocatalytic degradation of the cyanotoxin cylindrospermopsin, using titanium dioxide and UV radiation. Water Research 35(5):1245–1255.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Senogles–Derham PJ, Seawright A, Shaw G, Wickramisingh W, Shahin M (2003) Toxicological aspects of treatment to remove cyanobacterial toxins from drinking water determined using the heterozygous P53 transgenic mouse model. Toxicon 41(8) 979–988.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Shaw GR, Shen X, Wickramasinghe W, Senogles P, Easglesham GK, Lam PKS, Moore MR (2001) Toxicological aspects of byproducts of chlorination of the cyanobacterial toxin, cylindrospermopsin. Toxicology 164(1–3):174.Google Scholar
  35. Shephard MR, Stockenstrom S, de Villiers D, Engelbracht WJ, Wessel GFS (2002) Degradation of microcystin toxins in a falling fim photocatalytic reactor with immobilized titanium dioxide catalyst. Water Research 36(1):140–146.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Simpson MR and MacLeod BW (2002) An integrated approach of algal by–products including bench scale evaluation of nanofiltration for microcystin removal. Proceedings of the AWWA 2002 Water Quality Technology Conference Seattle Washington 10–14 November.Google Scholar
  37. Smith DP, Falls V, Levine AD, McLeod BW, Simpson M, Champlin TL (2002) Nanofiltration to augement conventional treatment for removal of algal toxins, taste and odor compounds, and natural organic matter. Proceedings of the AWWA 2002 Water Quality Technology Conference Seattle Washington 10–14 November.Google Scholar
  38. Svrcek, C. and Smith, D.W. 2004. An Overview of the Cyanobacteria Toxins and the Current State of Knowledge on Water Treatment Options. Journal of Environmental Engineering and Science 3: 155–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tech Brief. (March 1999) National Drinking Water Clearinghouse Scholar
  40. Tsuji K, Watanuki T, Kondo F, Watanabe MF, Suzuki SM, Nakazawa H, Suzuki M, Uchida H, Harada KI, (1995) Stability of microcystin from cyanobacterial –II. Effect of UV light on decomposition and isomerization. Toxin 33(12):1619–1631.Google Scholar
  41. Tsuji K, Watanuki T, Kondo F., Watanabe, MF, Nakazawa H, Suzuki, M. Uchida H, Harada KI (1997) Stability of microcystins from cyanbacteria –IV. Effect of chlorination on decomposition. Toxicon 35(7):1033–1041.Google Scholar
  42. Vuori E, Pelander, Himberg K, Waris M, Niinivaara K (1997) Removal of nodularin from brackish water with reverse osmosis or vacuum distillation. Water Research 31(11): 2922–2924.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Westrick JA (2003) Everything a Manager Should Know about Algal Toxins but was Afraid to Ask. Journal of American Water Works Association 95:26–34.Google Scholar
  44. Wood S, Abbott S, Westrick JA (2005) Update on a national preliminary algal toxin occurrence study that monitored source and distribution drinking water (presentation) Kentucky/Tennessee America Water Works Association Conference Covington KY, September 12, 2005.Google Scholar
  45. Yoo RS, Carmichael WW, Hoehn RC, and Hurdey SE (1995) Cyanobacterial (Blue–Green Algal) Toxins: A Resource Guide. Denver, Colorado: American Water Works Research Foundation.Google Scholar
  46. Zhou H and Smith DW (2001) Advanced technologies in water and wastewater treatment Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering 28 (Supplement 1):49–66.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judy A Westrick

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations