Toledo area leaders predict large algal bloom in Lake Erie - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Toledo area leaders predict large algal bloom in Lake Erie

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Water quality experts say the heavy rains in late June could lead to a significant algal bloom in Lake Erie.

Representative Marcy Kaptur, (D) of the 9th District, brought together a panel of experts Tuesday to address the rising algal bloom threat, something many of them say does not necessarily increase the chances of another drinking water crisis.
They say the heavy rains have driven up phosphorous levels, which feeds the algal blooms. 

“We are very interested obviously in assuring a safe, clean drinking water supply,” Rep. Kaptur said.

The panel also addressed persistent online rumors that a “do not drink order,” like the one issued in early August of 2014, is imminent.

“Our water is safe. We still have non-detection of any toxin, microcystin in our water at this point,” said Chuck Campbell, the Commissioner of Water Treatment for the city.

Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson added, “The staff works diligently to make sure that when the water leaves the plant, that it is safe to drink and if it isn't, you're going to get that advisory that we got last August to say don't drink the water. That's going to come from us. It's not going to be something that comes from social media.”

The heavy rains from late June have caused phosphorus loading into Lake Erie, to go up significantly. As we showed you last week, microcystins have been detected in western Lake Erie. 

“And it will probably increase due to the rains we've gotten and all the phosphorous. We're probably going to have a large bloom again this summer,” said Dr. Thomas Bridgeman, associate professor of the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Toledo and a key member of the UT Water Quality Task Force.  

The water quality leaders also say a large algae bloom doesn't mean a greater chance for a water crisis. The bloom might not form over the water intake again and new monitors placed in the river and lake have made the city more prepared. 

“The water treatment plant is going to get much earlier warnings than they have received in the past,” said Dr. Jeffrey Reutter, of The Ohio State University and the F.T. Stone Laboratory.

Dr. Laura Johnson, a research scientist from the National Center for Water Quality Research at Heidelberg University, added, “In 2011, we had a record
breaker bloom. That was huge. And it didn't hardly affect the drinking water plant in the same way that these past couple of years have. So we could have a giant bloom that doesn't affect drinking water at all.”

Mayor Hicks-Hudson urges you to check the water quality "dashboard" on the city's website to dispel any rumors. It remains at
"clear" in the most recent reading.
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