Massive Green Algae Outbreak a Threat on Lake Erie as Waters Warm
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Massive Green Algae Outbreak a Threat on Lake Erie as Waters Warm

Massive Green Algae Outbreak a Threat on Lake Erie as Waters Warm

By Katy Galimberti, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer

August 03, 2014

Toledo, Ohio, water users were told Saturday to not use the city’s water supply after tests revealed the presence of a toxin possibly from algae on Lake Erie, city officials said.

Water wasn’t even to be boiled because it would increase the concentration of toxins in the water, officials said in a news release.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich declared a state of emergency for three counties as a result of the finding and said that state and local officials were working to have drinking water shipped for affected residents of the state’s fourth-largest city and surrounding area.

Water distribution sites supplied by local government and staffed by American Red Cross volunteers opened Saturday night to provide drinking water to local residents, the Red Cross said.

The Red Cross said it plans to deliver water for homebound residents, and volunteers and staff from across Ohio have been sent to Toledo to help.

Chicago water officials were also running precautionary tests on their water from Lake Michigan as a result of the Toledo advisory, the Chicago Tribune reported on its website.

The news of the “do not drink or boil” water advisory follows on the heels of Ohio state officials releasing their first beach advisory on July 23 after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a June 2014 report predicting a significant threat to Lake Erie due to harmful algal blooms (HAB).

The blooms are a malignant type of cyanobacteria that crowd water areas, typically late in the summer to early fall for the Great Lakes region.

When the toxic algae blooms in a massive outburst, water conditions can prove unsafe for swimmers and animals.

Lake Erie endured an extreme bloom in 2011 that turned waters a putrid green and closed beaches due to health risks. Researchers expect 2014 blooms to be milder, though public safety could still be impacted.

Satellite image shows the colossal spread of the 2011 blooms on Lake Erie which can cause destructive health risks and create economical problems. (Photo/NOAA)

A Recreational Public Health Advisory was issued at Maumee Bay State Park on Lake Erie on July 23, warning swimmers, especially children, elderly or those with compromised immune systems, that waters are at an elevated toxin level. Technically, swimming is still allowed in such waters, though it could prove to be adverse to health concerns.

Higher temperatures can be a contributing factor to an increase in blooms, according to Professor and Director at the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan Don Scavia. However, he explained that the key factor is the amount of phosphorus flowing into the lakes from agricultural watersheds.

When an excess of minerals, such as phosphorus, and other factors such as higher temperatures, the mix can create hazardous conditions.

According to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the primary sources of nutrient pollution are runoff of fertilizers, animal manure, sewage treatment plant discharges, storm water runoff, car and power plant emissions and failing septic tanks.

via Massive Green Algae Outbreak a Threat on Lake Erie as Waters Warm.

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One Response to "Massive Green Algae Outbreak a Threat on Lake Erie as Waters Warm"

  1. Daleri Rileda
    Daleri Rileda  August 3, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Do you have any spare algae eaters?

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