Giant Algae Blooms Threaten Lake Erie's Water & Wildlife

DETROIT, Oct. 10 (UPI) — Giant algae blooms that appeared during summer on Lake Erie had not been seen since the 1970s when sewage discharge was rampant, a U.S. expert says.

The blooms disappeared after sewage plants and industry cut the flow of particulate phosphorus into the lake, but dissolved phosphorus from fertilizers and detergents has been more difficult to curb, researchers told The Detroit News in a story published Saturday.

Phosphorus is necessary for algae to thrive and the increasingly large blooms seen on the lake each summer present a problem with no foreseeable end, conservationists said.

Algae species fouling beaches and waterways include Microcystis or blue-green algae, which is harmful to wildlife and threatening drinking water. The blue-green algae is so prevalent on the western half of Lake Erie that it now can be seen from space, the News reported.

“This year has been particularly bad,” said David Baker, a biology professor at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio, and founder of the National Center for Water Quality Research.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Categorized | Drinking Water
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