Community members want a solution to the algae

Community members want a solution to the algae

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - With both the city and county calling for the western basin of Lake Erie to be declared impaired by the EPA, the issue is getting a lot of attention inside and outside of Toledo.

Both those living in Toledo and those visiting the area shared the same reaction the the green algae on the Maumee River: Disbelief.

Many say they cannot believe the smell or the sight of the algae in the river and demand change.

"Well it's kind of disgusting to look at and it smells," Toledo resident Sue Beard said. "So it's not definitely a selling point for the city of Toledo."

Kevin Rakestraw is visiting Toledo from Detroit. He said the condition of the algal bloom left a bad impression.

"It broke my heart," explained Rakestraw after he saw the river for the first time while visiting. "I was hurt. As a sportsman and outdoors person, I was overwhelmed because you can't fathom this and it's not supposed to be like this."

With the bloom apparently growing, officials from the city and county are calling for a declaration of impaired status to Lake Erie.

Some Toledoans say they hope that helps.

"It certainly can't hurt," said Beard said. "I think it would be a good thing in the long run, I just don't know how fast it would be."

"Here we've got Lake Erie, you're not supposed to swim in it, you're not even supposed to touch the water," explained Jim Harpen, who lives along Lake Erie. "At any given day a whole batch of toxins that could render our drinking water undrinkable. If that is not the definition of impairment I don't know what is."

Jim Harpen says he has never seen it this bad. He used to spend every night on the water, now his jet-ski has sat unused for more than a month.

"It makes me angry because I know having been in the business, because I continue to study the thing that there's so much that can be done right now," Harpen said. "Again, we don't need to do anymore studies we know what needs to be done, just do it."

Harpen, like many others in the regions, is hopeful the US EPA will declare the lake impaired.

While everyone living in the Toledo area can see the issue, local leaders are urging state and federal officials to come and take a boat ride with them to see just how bad it truly is.

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