Decision support tool

Background information

Drinking water treatment

For an effective reduction of cyanotoxin risks via drinking water treatment, information on the type of toxins present in the raw water is crucial. Cyanotoxins which are largely cell-bound like microcystins can effectively be eliminated by techniques removing the producer-cells, e.g. by flocculation and filtration or by membrane filtration. The elimination of cyanotoxins which occur partially or largely in dissolved form, including cylindrospermopsin, anatoxin-a, PSP, and occasionally also microcystins, requires techniques which eliminate these toxins chemically or biologically, by e.g. oxidation, activated carbon treatment, or by slow sand filtration.

Also near-natural methods for drinking water abstraction including bank filtration and artificial groundwater recharge can remove cyanotoxins reliably under suitable subsurface conditions and sufficient retention times – see drinking water abstraction.

In the following, the suitability of single treatment techniques to eliminate cyanotoxins is briefly summarized. More detailed information can be found in Literature.


Flocculation and filtration

Slow sand filtration

Membrane filtration


Activated carbon