Contamination of drinking water by algal toxins due to agricultural run-off and fecal matter contamination (question from Bangladesh)

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  • jnmacart
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Contamination of drinking water by algal toxins due to agricultural run-off and fecal matter contamination (question from Bangladesh)

Hello SuSanA,
I have chatted with some of you at WEDC and WWW about some of what we are seeing in Bangladesh regarding algal contamination of pond water.

Ponds are used extensively in Bangladesh domestically, even though most of the country has access to tubewells for drinking water. The tubewell water is high in iron and therefore households have gone back to using ponds for cooking, washing and bathing.

I see two cooking concerns with this:
1. Not all pond water is boiled for cooking. Panta Bhat (which is a Bangladeshi rice breakfast porridge) is prepared by soaking left over rice in raw pond water over night.
2. Boiling water with algae in it can lead to cyanobacteria toxic poisoning and is not seen in the diarrhea indicators.

These algal blooms are caused by two things in Bangladesh: agricultural run-off and fecal matter contamination.

I would love to hear if you have seen this in your areas.
WMI has seen similar cases in Uganda near Lake Victoria

I would also love to hear if you know of any research that is going on in this area or how we can jump start some research.

There is an IWA conference in China next month called "International Workshop on Occurrence and Control of Tastes, Odours, and Algal Toxins in Waters", Oct. 29– Nov. 1, 2015, Xiamen, China.
www.iwa-toat2015.org/

But I am unable to attend.
Will anyone from the forum be there?

Best regards,

Jess MacArthur | iDE-Bangladesh
Research Team Lead | WASH Technical Advisor
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Contamination of drinking water by algal toxins due to agricultural run-off and fecal matter contamination (question from Bangladesh)

I would like to bring this post by Jess from Bangladesh back to your attention because it seems to have slipped through without people noticing. I am finding her question very interesting because normally we all assume that cooking makes all drinking water safe (OK, except for arsenic poisoning), but here is an example where cooking makes it less safe because it results in agal toxins (if the water was contaminated with nutrients from wastewater or agricultural run-off and thus algal blooms occurred).

Do we have someone on this forum who knows something about this? Is it something that we need to worry about? The health impacts are not diarrhea so it would not be picked up if only diarrhea is considered as a health indicator.

As Jess pointed out it could also happen in the Lake Victoria (Uganda) area? Anyone on the forum getting their drinking water from Lake Victoria? Should you be concerned as that lake is quite polluted by now, right?


Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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  • F H Mughal
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Re: Contamination of drinking water by algal toxins due to agricultural run-off and fecal matter contamination (question from Bangladesh)

Dear Jess,

I'm attaching an Australian publication that you will find useful. A CDC's factsheet is also attached.

Good Luck!

F H Mughal
F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan

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  • Bhaskar
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Re: Contamination of drinking water by algal toxins due to agricultural run-off and fecal matter contamination (question from Bangladesh)

Jess MacArthur

We have a simple solution to prevent Cyanobacteria from growing in ponds.
We have a product to grow Diatom Algae, when Diatoms grow Cyano decline.
Diatoms are the natural food for fish, so fish consume them and fish catch in the ponds will increase.

Contact me for more information.

Regards

Bhaskar
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Clean technology promoter.

I am working on a clean technology product to grow Diatom Algae in large waterways. Diatoms account for about 25% of all photosynthesis on Earth and hence are the best solution to consume CO2, N and P and oxygenate water and feed fish.

I am a Chartered Accountant but am now an entrepreneur focussed on clean technology.
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