Spread of algae in Lake Earie raises alarms across nation

Lake Toledo Algae

Toledo — For almost a week, the Maumee River that runs through the Caribbean has appeared like the Chicago River after it is dyed for St. Patrick’s Day. An algal bloom has turned into the western border of Lake Erie, into the river from up here to Canada florescent residents and prompting officials to lobby action to be taken by the Environmental Protection Agency, even calling to intervene.

“There’s something really wrong with our nation when our lakes and rivers turn green,” Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson wrote in a letter to Trump this week.

Fertilizers running off into Lake Erie and fertilizers have fed the development of the bloom.

360 view of lake earie algae

360 view: Algae bloom from Toledo Aerial Media

 

 

In Toledo The mayor has called on Gov. John Kasich and the national government to announce the western basin of Lake Erie impaired so to induce the federal government to respond with a strategy to improve the water quality. Despite no reports of toxicity warnings, dozens of residents in Toledo on Wednesday were stocking up on bottled water on fears the algal bloom could result in unsafe drinking water such as the one in summertime 2014 when Toledo and some Michigan residents could not use the water for days.

“I’m worried because they are always telling us how great our water is. ‘We are the best in the country here in Toledo,”’ said Gwen Henson of Toledo. “That is not true because every time you turn around, something is wrong with the water.”

Records were provided by the water department of Toledo to the Toledo Blade that show concentrations as of Friday remained low that the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant was able to deal with the water. As of Wednesday, Toledo’s water quality was still considered clear and safe to drink with less than 5 parts per billion of microcystin (toxins) in untreated water at the intake crib in Lake Erie and, furthermore, no trace was to be found in tap water. Many fish along the banks are dead, Hicks-Hudson said, but worries remain.

“It is time to come together and get into the core of the problem,” she said through email, advocating for tougher enforcement of manure legislation, the handicap designation and changes to the Clean Water Act. “We want real change in agricultural practices, so we can restore and protect our water.”

Blooms are overgrowths of algae in water because of nutrients that may result in illness in pets and human, and even death and get in the water, according to the EPA. The season for blossoms runs from July. In front of a thunderstorm came in August led to the departure of 15,000 fishes that were murdered in Beaver Creek, a neighborhood component of the Lake Erie 35,, hicks-Hudson noted spread. Chris Winslow, a researcher who studies Lake Erie in Ohio State University, said Wednesday that the western basin of Lake Erie’s blossom is on track with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s July forecast, which expected a blossom of 7.5 on a scale of 10, which makes it at least the fourth biggest bloom on record. But Winslow noted a bloom and a bloom aren’t synonymous as organisms on the water create toxins and they don’t. He pointed for the western basin of Lake Erie although maybe not the most poisonous as the bloom on record. But the blossom of 2014 went to poisonous from nontoxic he said, and resources didn’t exist to examine the water quality. But tools can spot toxins more so that remedies can be corrected, making another catastrophe that is similar unlikely.

“So if you don’t hear an advisory from a municipality, the water is safe to drink,”

Winslow said. In 2014, since that would boost the concentration of the toxin Toledo advised about 400,000 residents in a couple of areas in Michigan, the majority of its suburbs and Toledo to not brush their teeth with or boil the water. About 30,000 clients in four Monroe County communities in Michigan get Some of LaSalle Township and water out of Toledo: Bedford Luna Pier and Erie townships. The bloom of this year benefited from a spring that was wet, ” he said. Winds, rain and temperature influence a bloom’s magnitude.

Winslow said that fish have been analyzed, and the toxins are not absorbed by them, so it is safe to eat. When thinking of a swimming in waters with blooms however, Winslow suggested erring on the side of caution.

“The beaches are what you will need to pay attention to,” Winslow said. “Pay attention to advisories, and if there’s green on or in the water, then err on the safe side for swimming in blossom water.”

Algae growth has increased significantly during the last ten years in Lake Erie, a supply of drinking water for 12 million people in the U.S. and Canada, according to the EPA. It’s an important threat to the Lake Erie’s $12.9 billion fishing and tourism industries. Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate this week passed a measure that would reauthorize the government’s plan to investigate and respond to harmful algal blooms, such as monitoring and mitigation efforts in fresh-water bodies like Lake Erie. The bill still needs to pass the House.

But not everyone was concerned about the bloom. Novi resident Tom Szafran went fishing at 9 a.m. on Lake Erie and returned as the sun began to set. Chopping the perch he captured up, he said he was not concerned about eating the fish. “We would not be worried about feeding them to our grandchildren,” said Szafran, as a group of guys skinned fished beneath a hut from the water in Monroe’s Sterling State Park.

Szafran pointed out that algal blooms are not a threat. “It has been going on since the ’60s when girls used to do their laundry, and phosphates were inside,” he said.

As originally reported by Detroit News, credit to staff writer Sarah Rahal.