I asked Jeff the "The Berkey Guy" about the Berkey filters and the water probelms in Toledo, Ohio, related to cyanobacteria.
It seems that the Black Berkey purification elements would work well.
Below is the full reply:
ALGAE BLOOM – FAQ
Below is some information that might be helpful, with respect to the
Bloom and resulting contamination of the water supply to Toledo,
“…Cyanobacterial cells range in size from 0.5-1 μm to 40 μm in
In other words, it's a long skinny bacteria.
Internet research seems to indicate that cyanobacteria are even
on the scale of 150 micrometers in size.
While we have not tested the specific microbes associated with Algae
have tested other pathogenic bacteria and two viruses, which are a
of the size of these microbes.
To understand the difference between the size of pathogenic bacteria
viruses, we suggest the following web link as it will give you a
great visual of the
The University of Utah Cell Size and Scale Chart:
Slide the scale at the bottom to see the size of virus vs bacteria
vs other potential
contaminates and magnify to greater levels.
Black Berkey™ purification elements have been tested to remove both
pathogenic bacteria and viruses to greater than the EPA purification
This suggests that larger bacteria, such as cyanobacteria, should
effectively removed. Without test data on that specific microbe
does not make that specific claim.
The MS-2 virus is 24-26 nm in size.
The Fr Coliphage virus is 25nm in size.
In other words, they are over 1,000 times smaller than Cyanobateria.
Additionally Microcystins, which are the chemical contaminates
cyanobacteria are an organic chemical. Testing of Black Berkey™
demonstrated they are extremely efficient at removing organic
The EPA defines Microcystins as: “…toxins produced by cyanobacteria.
Cyanobacteria are also known as blue-green algae and are ubiquitous
in surface water
when conditions are favorable for growth and formation of algal
release toxins upon cell death or lysis. When released, toxins may
persist for weeks to
months. Toxins of most concern are microcystins. Microcystins take
their name from the
genera Microcystis. Most microcystins are hepatotoxins (liver
toxins). Hepatotoxins are
produced by species of the genera Microcystis, Anabena, Nodularia,
others. Most microcystins are associated with Microcystis
aeruginosa. While the liver is
the primary target of microcystins, it is also a skin, eye and
Further, the EPA states that: “…The following processes are
considered effective for
the removal/oxidation of microcystin:…. powdered activated carbon
(up to 100% for
some microcystins but less so for others), granular activated carbon
from 100% near start up to 38 to 73% at 3.5 months…”
Finally, the EPA states that: “…Removal of total microcystins, M-LR,
and M-LA, in
water by granular activated carbon (GAC) can be very effective where
is based on the empty bed contact time, the carbon's age, and
of the toxin. Time-dependent monitoring in a full-scale plant ranged
43 to 60 percent
removal for M-LR. Time-dependent monitoring in pilot-scale studies
ranged from greater
than 99 percent at one month to 73 percent at 3.5 months for M-LR,
and from greater
than 99 percent at one month to 38 percent at 3.5 months for M-LA…”
Based upon the above Internet research, Black Berkey™ element
organic chemical removal test data and the information provided by
the EPA in
their reference material cited above; these all suggest that Berkey®
purification systems should be extremely effective at removing and
contaminates resulting from the current algae bloom. NMCL also
recommends that whenever possible, the cleanest source water
always be utilized.