Problems caused by cyanobacteria are common around the world and also in raw water sources of drinking water treatment plants. Strains belonging to genera Microcystis, Anabaena and Planktothrix produce potent hepatotoxins, the microcystins. Laboratory and pilot scale studies have shown that microcystins dissolved in water may pass the conventional surface water treatment processes. In 1998 the World Health Organization proposed a guide value of 1 μg/L for microcystin-LR (MC-LR) in drinking water. The purpose of this research was to study the occurrence of microcystins in raw water sources of surface waterworks and in bank filtration plants and to evaluate the removal of microcystins in operating waterworks. Four bank filtration plants and nine surface waterworks using different processes for water treatment were monitored. Phytoplankton was identified and quantified, and microcystins analysed with sensitive immunoassay. Microcystin occurrence in selected water samples was verified with HPLC and a protein phosphatase inhibition method. Microcystins were detected sporadically in raw water sources of most of the waterworks. In two raw water supplies toxins were detected for several months. The highest microcystin concentrations in incoming raw water were approximately 10 μg/L MC-LR equivalents. In treated drinking water microcystins were detected occasionally but the concentrations were always below the guide value proposed by WHO.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.