Millions of gallons of runoff expected from rain to contribute t - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Millions of gallons of runoff expected from rain to contribute to summer algae blooms

(Source: WTOL) (Source: WTOL)
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Millions of gallons of runoff water is expected to drain into rivers like the Sandusky River in Tiffin and then into Lake Erie. Researchers are keeping a watchful eye on it.

"We're getting a lot of rain right now,” said Laura Johnson, Director of the National Center for Water Quality at Heidelberg University. "Which means that runoff that's coming off of any farm field residential area anywhere that's bringing phosphorous is going to directly contribute to the size of the bloom."

She's talking about the algae bloom. It's when cyanobacteria feed on the phosphorous in the water and releasing toxic mycrosystin. The most common source of phosphorous is manure used for fertilization.

"I'm guessing that probably what's been built up in the soils since at least last fall maybe over time is probably what's contributing to most of the run off we'll be seeing this weekend," Johnson said.

Because the soil is already so saturated, northwest Ohio can expect thousands of gallons of runoff in early May.

"For every inch of rain that falls that is equivalent to 27,000 gallons over an acre," Johnson explained.

All of this runoff water with possible phosphorous is like adding the perfect ingredients for a big bloom.

"The Lake Erie Basin is like a big mixing bowl capturing all of this runoff of and it mixes and it sits there until the water is warm enough for the cyanobacteria or the algae to bloom,” Johnson said. “We don't see blooms until the water temperature is above 70 degrees."

Beginning in the second week of May they will start predicting the algae bloom that could come late summer.

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