By JOHN SEEWER
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Federal researchers say the harmful algae on Lake Erie this year roughly matched the third-most severe bloom over the past 15 years.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday the algae outbreak had two peaks this year in August and again in mid-September.
The agency says this year's bloom left behind a thick, paint-like scum that covered about 280 square miles in September.
Researchers say the massive algae bloom was roughly equal to the one in 2013.
They say the bloom this year stretched from Toledo, Ohio to the shoreline along Ontario, Canada and reached the mouth of the Detroit River.
The potentially toxic algae blooms that are fed by farm fertilizer runoff and municipal sewage overflows are a threat to drinking water and aquatic life.