Monday, November 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Lake Erie’s algae woes began building a decade ago

APTOPIX Toledo Water Problems

A sample glass of Lake Erie water is photographed near the City of Toledo water intake crib, Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014, in Lake Erie, about 2.5 miles off the shore of Curtice, Ohio. More tests are needed to ensure that toxins are out of Toledo's water supply, the mayor said Sunday, instructing the 400,000 people in the region to avoid drinking tap water for a second day. Toledo officials issued the warning early Saturday after tests at one treatment plant showed two sample readings for microcystin above the standard for consumption, possibly because of algae on Lake Erie. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

By
From page A5 | August 04, 2014 |

TOLEDO, Ohio — 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.

City and state officials monitoring the water were waiting for a new set of samples to be analyzed Sunday before determining whether the water was safe.

“This is not over yet,” said Collins, who said some samples have showed decreased levels of toxins in the water.

Toledo officials warned residents not to use city water early Saturday after tests at one treatment plant showed readings for microcystin above the standard for consumption, most likely because of the algae.

Drinking the water could cause vomiting, cramps and rashes. Health officials advised children and those with weak immune systems to avoid showering or bathing in the water.

Worried residents told not to drink, brush their teeth or wash dishes with the water descended on truckloads of bottled water delivered from across the state as the governor declared a state of emergency. The Ohio National Guard was using water purification systems to produce drinkable water.

Oliver Arnold, of Toledo, loaded up on bottled water Sunday so that he could give baths to his six children, including 4-month-old twins. “We’re going through a lot. I know by tomorrow, we’re going to be looking for water again,” he said.

Some hospitals canceled elective surgeries and were sending surgical equipment that needed sterilized to facilities outside the water emergency, said Bryan Biggie, disaster coordinator for ProMedica hospitals in Toledo.

In southeastern Michigan, authorities were operating water stations Sunday for the 30,000 customers affected by the toxic contamination.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a satellite image showing a small but concentrated algae bloom centered right where Toledo draws its water supply, said Jeff Reutter, head of the Ohio Sea Grant research lab.

The bloom was much smaller than in past years and isn’t expected to peak until early September. But instead of being pushed out to the middle of the lake, winds and waves drove the algae toward the shore, he said.

“Weather conditions made it such that bloom was going right into the water intakes,” said Reutter, who has been studying the lake since the 1970s, when it was severely polluted.

The amount of phosphorus going into the lake has risen every year since the mid-1990s. “We’re right back to where we were in the ’70s,” Reutter said.

Almost a year ago, one township just east of Toledo told its 2,000 residents not to drink or use the water coming from their taps. That was believed to be the first time a city has banned residents from using the water because of toxins from algae in the lake.

Researchers largely blame the algae’s resurgence on manure and chemical fertilizer from farms that wash into the lake along with sewage treatment plants. Leaky septic tanks and stormwater drains have contributed, too. Combined, they flush huge amounts of phosphorus into the lake.

Environmental groups and water researchers have been calling on Ohio and other states in the Great Lakes region to drastically reduce the amount of phosphorus flowing into the lake. Ohio lawmakers this past spring took a step toward tackling the algae problem when they enacted a law requiring most farmers to undergo training before they use commercial fertilizers on their fields.But they have stopped short of mandating restrictions on farmers.

The International Joint Commission, an advisory agency made up of Canadian and U.S. officials, said last year urgent steps are needed to reduce phosphorus applied to fields, suggesting among other things that states ban the spread of manure on frozen or snow-covered ground.

That report came after a state task force in Ohio called for a 40 percent reduction in all forms of phosphorus going into the lake.

Agriculture industry groups have been asking farmers for more than a year to reduce phosphorus runoff before government regulators step in and impose their own restrictions. They’re also putting $1 million toward research to determine how to keep phosphorus on the fields and working with conservation groups on the issue, Joe Cornely, a spokesman for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, said Sunday. Farmers know they must be a part of the solution, he said.

“We’re clearly showing progress,” Reutter said. “You have to decide for yourself whether you think it’s fast enough.”

In Michigan, Detroit’s 4 million-user water system gets its water from Lake Huron and the Detroit River. In the face of the Toledo water crisis, Detroit officials plan to review their contamination procedures Monday, water department Deputy Director Darryl Latimer told The Detroit News. He said it was unlikely Detroit would face a problem like Toledo’s.

“The system is tested every two weeks for blue-green algae,” Latimer said. “We haven’t seen the precursors for this type of toxin.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Cadets raise cash to help wounded Air Force veteran

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Solano cities gather for Thanksgiving meal

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Food Addicts group sets Thanksgiving Day meet

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Local government board schedules meeting

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Turkey Trot returns Thanksgiving Day

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3

Holiday tree-lighting events begin

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3

 
Holiday boutiques in full swing

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
.

US / World

Anxieties mount as Ferguson waits on grand jury

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
3 months after Napa quake, recovery rolling

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

US looking past Ebola to prepare for next outbreak

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
San Jose police arrest man after airport chase

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Surfer missing off beach south of San Francisco

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Thief suspect falls through ceiling, leaves phone

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

1 killed, dozens injured in California bus crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
Boy with fake gun dies after shot by Ohio officer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

Israeli Cabinet moves to define Israel as Jewish

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Former DC Mayor Marion Barry dies at 78

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Islamic State group recruits, exploits children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Giffords rides in Tucson cycling event

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Suicide bomber kills at least 45 Afghans

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Some 30 horses die in stable fire outside Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Crew blasts off for International Space Station

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
US tells Iran to consider nuclear talks extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Damage worse than thought in Japanese earthquake

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Joey Chestnut devours turkey to win eating contest

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Strong quake in west China kills 5; 54 hurt

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Health care M&A leads global deal surge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

.

Living

Today in History: Nov. 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes: Nov. 25, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

My sister-in-law expects me to pay her for damages, but she won’t pay me

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

 
Horoscopes: Nov. 24, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

‘Mockingjay, Part 1′ opens with $123 million

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

List of winners of the American Music Awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
1D, Katy Perry win big at American Music Awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

TVGrid Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
.

Sports

 
Speights scores 28 as Warriors hold off Thunder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Hyde scores go-ahead TD, lifts 49ers past Redskins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Federer leads Swiss past France for Davis Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Hamilton answers Rosberg in style to clinch title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Stacy Lewis sweeps 3 biggest LPGA awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

UCLA honors Robinson, retires No. 42 for all teams

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Katy Perry to perform at Super Bowl halftime show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL roundup: Seahawks roll past Cardinals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Athletics acquire 1B Ike Davis from Pirates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Revs win 2-1 at Red Bulls in East final 1st leg

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sarvas puts Galaxy past Seattle 1-0 in West opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

First lady attends Princeton women’s hoops game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Monday, Nov. 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Leslie “Esi” Gros

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Jack I. Johnson

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4

Dorothy Pouge Arnold

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Arthur Irving Weiner

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

.

Comics

Get Fuzzy Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Bridge Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
B.C. Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Wizard of Id Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baldo Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Cryptoquote Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Crossword Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Sudoku Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7