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Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:59 PM

 

Lake Erie's Algae Woes Began Building A Decade Ago

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -- The toxins that contaminated the drinking water supply of 400,000 people in northwest Ohio didn't just suddenly appear.

Water plant operators along western Lake Erie have long been worried about this very scenario as a growing number of algae blooms have turned the water into a pea soup color in recent summers, leaving behind toxins that can sicken people and kill pets.

In fact, the problems on the shallowest of the five Great Lakes brought on by farm runoff and sludge from sewage treatment plants have been building for more than a decade.

While residents around Ohio's fourth-largest city were being told to avoid drinking tap water for a second day, discussion began to center around how to stop the pollutants fouling the lake that supplies drinking water for 11 million people.

"People are finally waking up to the fact that this is not acceptable," Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins said.

MORE...

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_TOLEDO_WATER_PROBLEMS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-08-03-15-29-49

We live about 90 miles northwest of Toledo and our local big-box store (Meijers) is completely out of bottled water. They sent it all to the Toledo area stores.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 04:08 PM

1. Connecting the dots - how much of this agricultural run-off is from fields planted

with GMO seed/ How much could be prevented inf farmers began using so-called "organic" methods designed to build soil levels and hold nutrients in place.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 04:09 PM

2. I'm in Toledo

Our water distribution sites are running out today.

My dad grew up on Lake Erie, he would have been 81 this year. He talked about an algae problem in the '50's when he was a teenager.

I feel badly your stores are out too, so far away. Hopefully your tap water is ok?

Our local mayor, Gov Kasich and our Rep had a meeting today, basically, the Feds will only pay 40% to pay for a new water treatment plant, the rest would have to come from taxes. Good luck with that, our water bills have tripled in the past 10 years and people just can't afford the extra taxes. This won't end well.

On edit, you and I both know a new plant won't stop algae.

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Response to Holly_Hobby (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 04:12 PM

4. I'm so sorry you are suffering through this.

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Response to In_The_Wind (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 04:19 PM

5. Thanks, but we're not in bad shape personally

We were able to get 2 cases yesterday and 6 gallons today. My husband and I can drink other things beside water, but we have 3 big dogs. We can use tap water for dishes and laundry, just need good water for brushing our teeth and rinsing produce, so we'll be ok for a while.

There are lots of people here who can't afford to go out and buy water, those are the ones suffering, standing in lines, it's hot and humid today. But so many people have helped us, there were 2 college students from the Ann Arbor area who rented a truck and filled it with water, drove here and gave it away. There really are some good people.

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Response to Holly_Hobby (Reply #5)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 04:23 PM

7. Those two students are awesome, paying it forward.

May there kindness be returned threefold.

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Response to Holly_Hobby (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 04:44 PM

8. We are alright as we have a 110ft well but I still buy bulk water (5 gal jugs)

 

for drinking. That was still available but I needed a couple new gallon jugs to put tea and refrig water in.

Was kinda of spooky though to see the shelves bare...

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Response to Purveyor (Reply #8)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 06:10 PM

9. We heard about the don't drink the water warning at

6AM, at Kroger's by 7AM and no water to be had within 12 miles. Spooky is right.

Good that you have a well. I hope your stores are restocked by tomorrow. Hundreds of trucks from retailers were diverted here yesterday and today.

The National Guard brought big tanks of water, Anheuser-Busch filled beer cans with water, the help has been amazing. No one is going thirsty.

All of our restaurants are closed, all those employees are losing money they can't afford, and the owners are suffering from food going bad.

The latest update is that the rest of the water testing results won't be back until tomorrow. This could go on a while, maybe until the weather cools in October. Algae peak is late Sept. It's a nightmare.

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Response to Holly_Hobby (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 06:17 PM

10. It won't stop it but

regulation of farm and industry for runoff will do a lot toward reducing the conditions for the bloom. But no one needs regulation. That's what I hear anyway. I'm so sorry you are experiencing this. Between Toledo and Cincinnati, the water woes Ohioans are experiencing are crippling. I hope it gets better soon. Has there been any discussion of having the city declared a disaster area for the time being?

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Response to Skidmore (Reply #10)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 09:04 PM

14. We're in a state of emergency declared by the Gov. and

FEMA is on stand-by. I don't think FEMA will be needed, unless this goes on for weeks. We have water, more on the way. No talk of disaster area yet. Thanks for the good wishes.

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Response to Holly_Hobby (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 06:24 PM

13. I don't think it's GMO's as much as the increased number of large livestock & poultry operations.

During the 90s, a lot of large dairies located in the Lake Erie watershed. Hog and cattle feeding operations got bigger and more concentrated. Same with poultry operations. Some of these operations generate more manure than villages that are required to treat their sewage. The manure generated from these operations has to go somewhere. It gets applied on farmland and finds its way in our waterways. They've had similar problems in Grand Lake St Marys, about 90 miles southwest of Toledo.

Another source is the over-fertilization of lawns in our urban areas. It gets washed away and finds its way into the lake eventually.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 04:10 PM

3. I think many areas will see a shortage of bottled water because it's being shipped to Toledo.

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Response to In_The_Wind (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 06:19 PM

12. In most communities, the tap water is fine but people

have bought into the idea that bottled water is heathier even though it sits on shelves with plastic leaching into it. Bottled water should be reserved for emergencies such as this.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 04:20 PM

6. Lake Erie's been having algae blooms since at least the 1960s

when I was a kid in the Buffalo area, and for pretty much the same reason: excess phosphorous compounds in the water. Banning phosphates in detergents helped control it. Reading the article, it seems like the big difference this year is that weather conditions are keeping the bloom nearer the source instead of pushing it out into the lake to disperse and annoy the people to the east.

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Response to Retrograde (Reply #6)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 06:18 PM

11. We've had a mild summer

70's/50's, highly unusual. Very few storms to churn up the lake, no wind. A perfect storm, as they say.

As I mentioned above, my dad grew up on Lake Erie just north of Toledo, I remember him talking about algae on the lake in the '50's when he was a teenager. He would preach about not going in the water when there was algae.

Things have gotten worse from the mega farms. Our sewage goes into the lake too, although treated. No matter how they try, blaming it solely on climate change is just plain wrong.

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Response to Retrograde (Reply #6)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 11:14 PM

16. I remember when the alewives would wash up in the early 1970's.

Man...talk about stink. Erie was far worse then than it is now. Can we improve it? Obviously yes. But back when there was more industry the Great Lakes and is tributaries around the industrial cities were just downright nasty. Most of the industry is now gone. Now remains the problem of agricultural runoff, lawn fertilizers, etc. We need stricter regulation in those areas.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 09:40 PM

15. I hope they don't get mind worms.

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