UT experts talk about reducing Lake Erie algae - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

UT experts talk about reducing Lake Erie algae

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Close to 300 people were at the University of Toledo Tuesday evening to hear more about the harmful algae in Lake Erie and what can be done moving forward.

The university held a forum on the subject, and panelists said the recent water crisis has been a long time coming.

Experts from UT and Bowling Green State University made up the panel. They took questions from audience members.

"A lot of people point fingers when there is any discussion about the sources of phosphorous, and farmers come up," said panelist Kenneth Kilbert, a UT law professor and director of the Legal Institute of the Great Lakes. "Certainly [farmers] are a significant factor, but they are certainly not alone – human sewage being among the biggest [contributing factors]."

Other questions asked included how long it will take until the area can move forward and start cleaning things up. Panelists say one way is through setting phosphorous reduction targets, and they say we can start making those changes now.

"There is no reason to set a timeline," said Dr. Patrick Lawrence, UT professor and chair of geography and planning. "We can move now. We need to put pressure on our legislature and elected officials to move."

Another question was about the cost of these changes.

"This likely will end up being a very expensive proposition in terms of the impact, plus adding all the labor cost and material," said Dr. Lawrence. "It's tens of millions of dollars by the time we come up with estimates."

But the panelists seemed to agree that something need to be done.

"We have to take care of what's going into the water treatment plant, but we also have to take care of the water treatment plant itself," said Dr. Isabel Escobar, UT professor of chemical and environmental engineering, and expert in water treatment.

Click here to watch the entire panel discussion.

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