Cyanobacteria Harmful Algal Blooms (aka cyanoHABs)

Summer is here and we’ve already experienced some hot days in Oregon, and people seeking out local lakes and rivers to play in. While enjoying all of Oregon’s beautiful waterways, it’s important to watch out for cyanoHABs – large stretches of algae that contain harmful toxins.

Lauren and Dylan talk to staff with DEQ and Oregon Health Authority about how to be stay alert when it comes to cyanoHABs. Step 1 – sign up for alerts for when OHA confirms there are cyanoHABs in the water.

DEQ and OHA talk about why cyanoHABs form, what they look like and what safety precautions to take. Remember, cyanoHABs can be harmful to people and pets, and you can’t filter them out with a regular water filtration system or just by boiling.

The voices in the episode are:

  • Gregg Baird, OHA emerging contaminant specialist.
  • Aaron Borisenko, DEQ water quality monitoring manager.
  • Curtis Cude, OHA environmental surveillance program manager.

Listen to the podcast on: SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.


  • Introduction
  • Discussion with DEQ and OHA on cyanoHABs [2:50]
    • What are cyanoHABs and who do they matter? [3:35]
    • Health impacts of cyanoHABs on people and pets [4:50]
    • Where do cyanoHABs come from, what causes them? [6:40]
    • When does OHA issue advisories for cyanoHABs? [8:20]
    • What to do if you think you see cyanoHABs? [13:20]
    • Monitoring in public drinking water systems [16:10]
    • CyanoHABs and water while camping [17:05]
    • What are DEQ and OHA doing to better understand and predict cyanoHABs? [21:00]
    • If your dog is showing symptoms of exposure to cyanoHABs [23:10]
    • Main takeaways [22:35]
  • Wrap-up [29:20]

Links for DEQ and OHA cyanoHABs resources.

Published by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

DEQ’s mission is to be a leader in restoring, maintaining and enhancing the quality of Oregon’s air, land and water.

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