Salem, Ore., Considers Activated Carbon as Cyanotoxin Solution

Nov. 29, 2018
The Oregon city is searching for water treatment options in the midst of their third do not drink advisory of the spring

The city of Salem, Ore., has begun testing powdered activated carbon as a potential solution to the city’s reoccurring cyanotoxin contamination. The city is currently under a do not drink advisory due to algae blooms in the Detroit Lake which developed into cyanotoxins that reached municipal drinking water. Salem uses a sand water filtration system, but is exploring the possibility of incorporating powdered activated carbon filtration following three drinking water advisories this spring alone.

The city has enlisted Katie Ottoboni, a process engineer with Carollo Engineers, to perform an on-site small scale test to determine how the activated carbon process may impact the city’s existing sand filters, according to the Statesman Journal. The test, currently underway, uses four 40 gal orange plastic barrels, two sand filters and will filter approximately 10,000 gal of water before the system is implemented on a larger scale. Ottoboni hopes to find if the new system would impact the biotics in the sand filter or cause maintenance issues.

Another factor the city is considering as the do not drink advisory continues for nearly two weeks is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to spill water Thursday from the Detroit Dam for temperature control on the North Santiam River–the source of Salem’s drinking water. The spill aims to cool water temperature downstream for Chinook salmon and winter steelhead.