Conference discussing algae threat to drinking water - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Conference discussing algae threat to drinking water

(Source: Michael Stinson) (Source: Michael Stinson)
(Toledo News Now) -

Algae, ‘the green menace,' is becoming more of a serious threat to the region's source of drinking water, according to researchers on day one of the American Water Works Association conference taking place at the Seagate Centre.

"The problem is getting worse. It's driven largely, not only by agricultural patterns, but by weather," said Dr. Tom Bridgeman with the University of Toledo's Lake Erie Center.

Bridgeman says more focus needs to be placed on preventing phosphorus fertilizers from being flushed into the Lake Erie watershed.

"What we can control is whether the rainfall that falls on our watershed washes fertilizers into the tributaries that makes its way into the lake," he said.

Dr. David Baker with the National Center for Water Quality Research says while efforts to control agricultural erosion have been successful, water in Lake Erie's western basin has become ‘a broth' for growing algae.

"The most inexpensive way for farmers to apply phosphorus fertilizer is to broadcast it, simply spread it around on the surface," Baker said. "Dissolved phosphorus, which is more bio-available to algae, has, in fact, increased."

Researchers agree any changes moving forward have to be cost-effective and practical for Ohio's agricultural business.

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