DENVER — American Water Works Association (AWWA) President John Donahue stressed in testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy that the solution to keep drinking water safe from cyanotoxins begins with reducing nutrient pollution, according to a press release.

The subcommittee hearing was in response to the August 2014 event in Toledo, Ohio, where cyanotoxin microcystin was found in finished water as a result of an algal bloom in Lake Erie, causing a “do not drink” advisory to be issued for more than 400,000 people, stated the release.

Donahue, who is also the CEO of North Park Public Water District in Machesney Park, Illinois, explained in the testimony that cyanotoxin contamination is associated with excessive amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus in water, continued the release.

The testimony also highlighted measures AWWA has undertaken to help address the issue, including training on protocols for responding to drinking water emergencies, the creation of materials on safeguarding against algal blooms and the development of a cyanotoxins guide, soon to be published, for utility managers, noted the release.

“The fairest and best strategy for reducing the scope and severity of this problem in the future is bringing nonpoint sources of nutrient pollution under more effective management,” said Donahue. “At present, though, these sources lie largely outside the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.”

Read the entire release here.