A19 – A Historical Overview of Cyanobacteria Events in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts


Evan Karl (ME ’21),  Jake Sullivan (AE ’21), Mark Payne (AE ’21)





Kristin Divris – MassDEP, Water Utility Resilience Program

Ann Lowery – MassDEP, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Planning and Evaluation



Seth Tuler – WPI Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division



Cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms (CyanoHABs) can produce cyanotoxins which cause serious health effects, including death. Climate change and land use are two important factors that have led to an increase in CyanoHABs. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) lacks info about blooms in surface drinking water supplies and the preparedness of Public Water Systems (PWS) for cyanobacteria. Through the completion of this project, we made a historical overview of cyanobacteria events in surface drinking water supplies in Massachusetts since 2015, identified and compared the prevention and response methods for cyanobacteria events, and developed informational materials for MassDEP and PWSs. We suggested actions MassDEP could take to improve cyanobacteria preparedness.