The City of Winchester is actively monitoring its drinking water in response to the Harmful Algae Bloom (HAB) on the North Fork Shenandoah River where the City obtains its water supply. On August 19, City officials received test results from an outside laboratory where multiple samples showed there are no cyanotoxins in the City’s drinking water at this time and the water remains completely safe to drink and use for all purposes. These results come in addition to the initial results the City received on August 13, which also indicated no cyanotoxins were present in the drinking water. The City of Winchester will continue to monitor the drinking water for the duration of the HAB.
HABs are caused by cyanobacteria, which can produce a variety of toxins known as cyanotoxins. Cyanotoxins can affect human health if consumed in excessive quantities over an extended period of time.
HAB impacts were first observed 1.5 miles upstream of the City’s raw water intake on July 27. Since then, the City optimized its treatment process for the removal of cyanotoxins. The City has monitored the drinking water for cyanotoxins since they were initially observed in the area and will continue to do so for the duration of the algae bloom.
The City of Winchester is working closely with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and has implemented recommendations and strategies to optimize water treatment, monitor water quality, and prevent health impacts from the algal bloom.
Customers with questions should contact Don Riggleman at the City of Winchester at (540) 667-1815, extension 1422.
Previous News Releases:
August 13, 2021 - No toxins found in the City's drinking water
August 6, 2021 - Drinking water protection during the harmful algal bloom