New tool unveiled to find sources of Lake Erie pollution - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

New tool unveiled to find sources of Lake Erie pollution

(Source: Toledo-Lucas County Sustainability Commission) (Source: Toledo-Lucas County Sustainability Commission)

There’s a new tool to use in order to local leaders accountable for the quality of the water you drink. And it just went "live" Monday.

City and county leaders gathered at the main Toledo-Lucas County Library to unveil the Nutrient Source Inventory. It may sound technical, but it's designed to be easy to use.

Instead of counties and county lines, the interactive map shows watersheds that feed into Lake Erie, where we get our drinking water.

The city of Toledo and Lucas County had started the database even before the 2014 water crisis.

Western Lake Erie ?Nutrient Source Inventory 

As you click into a watershed, you learn what nutrients are going into the lake, like phosphorous, which causes toxic algae blooms. You can also find out where they are, and eventually, how much is getting into the water.

“One of the things that I always wondered was 'where are those hotspots?' Now, we are able to pinpoint them, and from there, we're able to ask for and ask specifically for remedies,” said Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson.

Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon-Wozniak said it's a tool for everyone to use. 

“This is a tool for a citizen, this is a tool for a researcher, this is a tool for a teacher, this is a tool for a public official, a public policy individual," said Skeldon-Wozniak.

Former city water commissioner Tim Murphy is on the consulting team for the project.

“You'll be able to find out if the streams near your house are impaired, what they may be impaired for. You'll also be able to look at any sources of nutrient pollutants coming into your particular watershed," said Murphy.

Lucas County Commissioner Carol Contrada said the Nutrient Source Inventory won't be used to punish specific sources of pollution.

“I don't think it would be advantageous to finding solutions to target a farm or a single entity. What we want to do is we want to understand how complex the system is," said Contrada. 

Read more from the Toledo-Lucas County Sustainability Commission here.

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