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"Significant" Algae Bloom Expected In Lake Erie

 
Posted July 10th, 2014 @ 4:55pm by Matt Bruning

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSPD) --  Researchers predict Lake Erie will have a "significant" bloom of toxic blue-green algae in the western basin, which runs from Sandusky to Toledo, this summer. However, it won't be as bad as it was in recent years.

On a scale of 1 to 10, Jeff Reutter with Ohio State University's Sea Grant program, predicts this year will be about a 6. He says the record-breaking 2011 bloom was a 10 while last year's was an 8.

Algae blooms have become a growing concern among politicians and cities that use the lake for drinking water. Those involved with Lake Erie's tourism and fishing industries are pushing for a solution to the problem.

The issue is the toxins that are created by the algae.

"These are toxins that are quite dangerous to people and to animals," he said.

Phosphorus from farm fertilizer runoff and sewage treatment plants feeds the algae, which leave behind harmful toxins. Farm groups in Ohio have asked farmers to take steps to reduce runoff before government regulators impose their own restrictions.

"That nutrient loading and the blooms are the most significant problem impacting the lake right now," said Reutter.

It's not something that's just a problem in Ohio and on Lake Erie. Reutter says up to 30 states are reporting similar problems around the country.

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