Due to a new temporary state health rule, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is partnering with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to administer free testing of water samples for cyanotoxin at a DEQ environmental laboratory. The OHA last week passed temporary rules for the remainder of 2018 requiring some drinking water systems to test for the cyanotoxins microcystins and cylindrospermopsin, and alert the public in the event that test results exceed US EPA health advisory levels.
Cyanotoxins are produced by a certain type of bacteria associated with harmful algal blooms. While the temporary rules are in effect, OHA will establish a rules advisory committee for public development of a permanent rule.
“DEQ is committed to helping Oregon communities address harmful algal blooms by providing monitoring and analytical expertise,” said DEQ Director Richard Whitman. “The impacts of climate change will continue to exacerbate conditions that lead to algal blooms, and having better data will help us understand the threat posed to our water systems and how we can reduce harm.”