Strasburg residents can continue carefree consumption of drinking water despite the harmful algae bloom on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, according to a town news release. Samples that were collected Aug. 16 contained no cyanotoxins in the town's untreated or finished drinking water. The situation is being monitored continuously.

Previous samples contained .277 micrograms per liter of anatoxin-a on Aug. 3 and .316 micrograms per liter on Aug. 9 in finished water, according to the release. Anatoxin-a is a type of cyanotoxin neurotoxin produced by the harmful algae bloom that can impact health, the release adds.

The neurotoxin can cause tingling, burning, numbness, drowsiness, incoherent speech and salivation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Dogs and livestock deaths have been reported after exposure to cyanotoxins in water, according to the EPA's website.

While there is no federally-established health advisory level for anatoxin-a, the Virginia Department of Health has determined that protective action would be necessary if .5 micrograms per liter is exceeded for 10 days.

The harmful algae bloom impacts were first observed in the area of the town’s raw water intake on July 19 and since then the town has optimized its treatment process for the removal of cyanotoxins, the release states.

Enhanced water monitoring and optimized treatment will continue for the length of the algae bloom, may be through October or longer, the release states. Monitoring drinking water for cyanotoxins will continue for as long as the harmful algae bloom persists.

The town is working closely with the VDH and implemented recommendations and strategies to optimize water treatment, monitor water quality and prevent health impacts from the bloom, the release states.

Customers with questions should contact the town at 540-465-9197, the release states.

Contact Charles Paullin at