Ohio’s U.S. Senators have introduced two bills that address the problems with toxic microcystins, a result of the bacteria known as blue-green algae, in the state’s waters. Toxins from algal blooms in Lake Erie caused a two-day shutdown of Toledo’s water system in August, and algal blooms have been reported in lakes around the state including Grand Lake St. Mary’s and Buckeye Lake.
Nothing brings consensus like a crisis. During Toledo’s recent drinking-water ban, conflicting ideas about how to test for toxins caused confusion for decision-makers, and hat problem sparked rare, swift action by multiple layers of government to create a uniform, statewide protocol.
State officials say small amounts of harmful blue-green algae have led to testing and a sign warning swimmers not to swallow the water at a western Ohio reservoir.
But an Ohio Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman says the toxin levels are not enough to issue a public health advisory for Clarence J. Brown Reservoir in Buck Creek State Park. The Dayton Daily News reports the park north of Springfield attracts about 380,000 people annually for boating, swimming, fishing and camping.
Officials say testing of the reservoir will continue.
Ohio environmental officials are focusing on six major streams as they try to cut pollutants that help toxic algae thrive in the state's lakes and other waterways.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has for years worked to cut manure and fertilizer runoff from Ohio farms and pollutants from sewage treatment plants that contribute to poisonous blooms of blue-green algae in Lake Erie and Grand Lake St. Marys in western Ohio.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that the state EPA will focus on the Scioto, Great Miami, Maumee, Sandusky, Cuyahoga and Wabash rivers.