DETROIT, MI (WTOL) - Algae bloom season is approaching and so are worries about toxic drinking water. But there are students working hard to keep the water you drink safe.
A University of Toledo student on Wednesday night presented her findings on algal blooms in a poster presentation at Cobo Center in Detroit. It was one of dozens of posters on water quality.
UT Masters student Eva Kramer explained her research to up to 1,000 people at the yearly conference of the International Association of Great Lakes. Her poster highlighted the testing she did last August of toxic microcystin near the Toledo water intake.
"And this is showing how the water intake is drawing water from about that middle third of the water column," Kramer said.
She is trying to find the best and worst times to draw in raw water from Lake Erie, to be treated for drinking water. When microcystin concentrations are higher, it might be best to wait.
Pointing to a graph on her poster, Kramer said, "During the day at 1 pm, we see it is distributed all throughout the water column. Here at night we see it's still distributed throughout the water column but the concentrations are lower."
UT Ecology professor Carol Stepien, an algal bloom expert, is also presenting research at the conference this week. .
"This year, if it continues to be warm, we had a pretty warm winter. It's probably not going to be a good year for algal blooms. And we just had a lot of rain," Stepien said.
Kramer is a Southeast Michigan native and you could say she lives, breathes, and tastes her research.
"I moved to Toledo two years ago so I'm drinking the Toledo tap water too. I'm really passionate about the Great Lakes, about restoring them, about protecting them," Kramer said.
Kramer is still conducting her research and hasn't published it yet. But she hopes one day, her findings can make it to water treatment plants all over the Great Lakes.