Monday, March 2, 2015
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

Whiteside ready to take Travis school board seat

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
World War II spy shares tales of work behind enemy lines

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

I love to ‘read’ audiobooks

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
PublicStuff, an online app, set for Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Beginning gardening series starts in March

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Literacy celebration returns this month

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Council to hear budget scenarios

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield High School celebrates black history

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Warm winter afternoon at Lagoon Valley Park

By Steve Reczkowski | From Page: A3, 4 Comments | Gallery

Free medical series targets senior health issues

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Pena Adobe hosts natural dye-making presentation

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

IHOP takes part in National Pancake Day

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
Local governments schedule meetings this week

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Vacaville 4-alarm house fIre

By Steve Reczkowski | From Page: A4, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Weather for Monday, March 2, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

Corner Store Gallery schedules open house

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
.

US / World

Kerry tries to dampen fuss over Israeli PM’s speech

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Hundreds of bills introduced by California lawmakers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Storm brings rain, thunder, hail to Southern California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

California GOP recognizes gay faction of party

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

 
New plane tracking to be tested after Malaysia jet mystery

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Activists say Islamic State releases 19 Syrian Christians

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Sierra Leone’s vice president in quarantine for Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

30,000 marchers in Moscow mourn slain Putin foe

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Spacewalking astronauts finish extensive, tricky cable job

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Newspaper: Nurse who survived Ebola says hospital failed her

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Myanmar captures rare white elephant in western jungles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Crowd kills girl suspected to be suicide bomber in Nigeria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: March 2, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
A night with a King

By Delon Jackson | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Your right to work for less

By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8, 49 Comments

Right fight in DC, but wrong reason

By Colbert I. King | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: March 2, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: March 2, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Why timeouts only prolong the problem

By The Washington Post | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

 
Horoscopes: March 3, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

Horoscopes: March 2, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
It’s never a good idea to point out how big a pregnant woman is

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

Lady Gaga, Vince Vaughn take charity polar plunge in Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Will Smith’s ‘Focus’ tops box office with $19.1 million

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

TVGrid March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
.

Sports

 
Curry scores 37, leads Warriors from 26 down to beat Celtics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Jimmie Johnson pulls away for another Atlanta Sprint Cup win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Giants reliever Strickland insists he’s tranquil on mound

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Lillard, Aldridge lead Blazers past Kings for 3rd in a row

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Broadcasters propose FIFA election debate to Blatter, rivals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Major league baseball’s 1st black Latino star Minoso dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Seller’s market for NHL teams as trade deadline nears

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Andy Sullivan wins Joburg Open for 2nd title this year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
South Korea’s Amy Yang wins Honda LPGA Thailand

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hannah hurls Bulldogs to 2-0 win over Campolindo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Oregon women upset No. 19 Stanford 62-55

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Indians open season with 12-4 win over Falcons

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

 
Oregon beats Stanford 73-70, clinches bye in Pac-12 tourney

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Process gets underway to carve up $60 million Sandusky fine

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cal’s big run lifts Bears past Oregon State 73-56

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Former Washington basketball star Christian Welp dies at 51

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sharks trade Sheppard to Rangers for draft pick

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

4,000 attend Jerry Tarkanian tribute in Las Vegas arena

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Garnett buys 1,000 tickets for fans for next T-wolves game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Poulter, Casey share lead at rain-delayed Honda Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Blatter concerned by Russian soccer racism before World Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for March 2, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez nearing 1st spring game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Fast and furious: Rousey looks to future after 14-second win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

.

Business

Mimi’s adds breakfast items to menu

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Samsung ditches plastic design, adds mobile pay in new phone

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

In Apple’s latest update, emojis get diverse

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Obituaries

Jacqueline Mendes

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Lester Singer

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C. March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Crossword March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sudoku March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Bridge March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Garfield March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Get Fuzzy March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Frank and Ernest March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Wizard of Id March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C. March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Beetle Bailey March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Peanuts March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Word Sleuth March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Crossword March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Sudoku March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Bridge March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7