Researchers test Maumee River for "algae food"

Researchers test Maumee River for "algae food"

BOWLING GREEN, OH (WTOL) - Researchers are collecting water samples to test for a type of phosphorus that can lead to algal blooms.

"It's kind of like the primary food source for the algal cells that are present out in the waterways," said Ellen Ewing with the National Water Quality Research at Heidelberg University.

It's called dissolved reactive phosphorous. The main source of this algae food is fertilizer used in farming.

"Given the right or wrong circumstances you can end up with nuisance algal blooms, or harmful algal blooms," Ewing said.

Ewing and her team are collecting samples from the Maumee at the Bowling Green Water Treatment Plant.

"So, today we're going to switch that base out," Ewing explained. "Once a week we generally come out there and switch out our bases that allows up to get that seven days of water sampling in place."

Samples from all 18 locations are sent to Heidelberg University in Tiffin where the testing is done. Researchers said with heavy rain, warming temperatures and farming, they expect the season to only get busier.

"This is really the time of year when we start to see a lot more agricultural activity taking place," Ewing said. "We're kind of on the cusp of looking at what we will see this year."

Once farmers get their soybeans and corn into the ground by mid-June that's when researchers said they start seeing increased level of phosphorous if those heavy rain events occur."

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