Friday, August 15, 2014

Algae Bloom on Steroids

David Casaletto wrote an interesting issue of Ozark Waters newsletter
discussing the Toledo water crisis and its Ozarks implications.  The pictures are striking.  I had read about the devastating algae bloom on Lake Erie that caused a shutdown of all potable water in Toledo, Ohio for two days.  We are used to the occasional boil order in small towns, but this was 400,000 people!  And no boiling solutions as boiling would only concentrate the toxin.

Lake Erie from satellite - NASA

Lake Erie water sample
What was striking in the article was the photographs. You couldn't make this worse with Photoshop. The ecological impact came from a combination of farm fertilizer runoff, septic systems around the heavily developed lake shore and global warming.

This blue-green algae problem isn't just limited to Lake Erie.  It has been reported to cause sickness in many Wisconsin communities.  The algae is common and can occur in our Ozark waters, but so far not in toxic concentrations.  As we have more warm weather and pack people closer together, the algae risks climb.  We have no control of the weather, but we can limit runoff of fertilizers and animal waste into our streams. 

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