Investigation of water treatment alternatives in the removal of microcystin-LR

New weapons for water treatment plants dealing with harmful algal blooms

Principal Investigator

Isabel Escobar, University of Toledo


Research at the University of Toledo and The Ohio State University will create low-cost, effective treatments for algal toxins often found in drinking water drawn from Lake Erie.

When the water entering a treatment plant has high levels of microcystin, a harmful algal toxin, plant managers have to do whatever it takes to ensure safe drinking water. One sure—but expensive—solution is to use activated charcoal, but when there are a lot of toxins, that can translate into as much as $10,000 extra in water treatment costs per day.

To find effective alternatives to activated charcoal, the research team will develop and test three new water treatment processes to see which ones remove the most microcystin from drinking water. They will develop these new techniques in partnership with the City of Toledo, which was a front-line community in severe harmful algal blooms in 2014, and will share results at statewide meetings of community water managers.

The End Result

Cities will be able to provide clean drinking water using a suite of cost-effective techniques to reduce harmful algal toxins.

Full Project Information

Read about the project at the Ohio Sea Grant website.