Protecting Our Water: Milder algal bloom season predicted, new w - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Protecting Our Water: Milder algal bloom season predicted, new water quality dashboard unveiled

(Source: WTOL) (Source: WTOL)

It looks like Toledo residents could catch a break this algal bloom season. 

As the City of Toledo ended its tour through the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant Tuesday WTOL 11 learned some good news. 

Heidelberg University's Center for Water Quality Research, as well as NOAA, are predicting a milder algal bloom than last year. 

Back in 2015, toxic microcystin levels reached 10.5, going beyond the 1 to 10 scale in severity. 

This year, researchers are calling for a bloom in the 3 to 6 range, with the worst being 6 to 7. 

That could mean a smaller chance of a drinking water crisis - something the water treatment plant is working hard to avoid.  

"This doesn't mean there's not going to be a bloom, we're still expecting one. It's going to be average, so it's going to be a good size. It's not going to be as small as 2012, which is what we would really aim for with the phosphorus reduction. So, don't think there's not going to be one, it's just probably not going to look as big as the last few years to the general public," said Dr. Laura Johnson, National Center for Water Quality Research.  

Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler was also at Tuesday's tour. He says he's confident that the plant will successfully monitor and treat the water coming in. 

“They are head and shoulders better prepared than they were in 2014. They have made significant improvements. We're very happy with where they are,” Butler said. 

Andy McClure, the Administrator at the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant, added, “We've got new algae testing equipment that's automated, so it gives our chemists some free time and that was bought through a grant with Ohio EPA.” 

Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson also unveiled the City's new and improved online Water Quality Dashboard. 

Right now, it stands at “Clear," meaning there is no toxic microcystin in our tap water and there's under five parts per billion in the raw water intake in Lake Erie. It won't move from “Clear” to “Watch” status unless it gets equal to or above 5.0 parts per billion in the raw water. That's a change from a threshold of only 0.3 parts per billion last year.

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