American Water Works Association (AWWA)

AWWA applauds USDA funding to control nutrients in source water


DENVER -- American Water Works Association expressed strong support for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to commit an additional $5 million to reduce nutrient pollution in the western Lake Erie Basin.

“Controlling nutrient pollution in water bodies is the first and most effective way to reduce algae blooms that can produce cyanotoxins,” said AWWA Chief Executive Officer David LaFrance. “AWWA applauds USDA’s announcement that it will invest $5 million more to help farmers protect water quality in Lake Erie.

“Harmful algal blooms present an important public health challenge and must be addressed from multiple perspectives,” LaFrance added. “AWWA looks forward to working collaboratively with USDA and the agricultural community, EPA, states, and all our 50,000 members to keep our precious source waters clean and our drinking water safe.”

A massive algae bloom in Lake Erie led to cyanotoxins in drinking water in August 2014, interrupting water service to 500,000 people in Toledo. AWWA testified in February that controlling nutrient pollution is the key to preventing such incidents. One week ago, President Obama signed into law the Drinking Water Protection Act, which directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop a comprehensive strategy for managing cyanotoxins.

AWWA recently published a Utility Manager’s Guide to Cyanotoxins and multiple technical tools to help water providers assess the effectiveness of treatment processes in preventing cyanotoxins exposure.

“Safe, reliable water service is critical to our communities,” LaFrance said. “It protects public health, sustains our economies, provides fire protection, and assures our high quality of life. We should take every possible step to assure safe water keeps flowing 24/7.”

Established in 1881, the American Water Works Association is the largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to managing and treating water, the world’s most important resource. With approximately 50,000 members, AWWA provides solutions to improve public health, protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance our quality of life.

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