The Great Miami River is connected to the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer, where Dayton gets its water.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

  TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Ohio's environmental regulators are ordering two wastewater treatment plants in southwest Ohio to reduce the amount of phosphorus that goes into the Great Miami River.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency last month rejected a request from Dayton and Montgomery County to delay setting the limits.

The state EPA says its research shows the plants are sending too much phosphorus into the river during the summer and that can add up to more toxic algae blooms.

Lake Erie Algae Blooms May Have Peaked For Season

Sep 28, 2015
Satellite view of toxic algal bloom on Lake Erie
NASA Earth Observatory

The algae blooms in Lake Erie around Northeast Ohio may have reached their peak for the season. Heavy spring rains washed large amounts of phosphorous into the lake prompting concerns of serious toxic algae problems.

Laura Johnson, a researcher at the National Center for Water Quality Research at Heidelberg University in northwest Ohio, believes the algae peak has passed, citing shorter days, cooler temperatures and much of the phosphorous in the water being used up.  Johnson says the only thing that could possibly cause the algae blooms to re-generate would be very heavy rain.

Dayton Water Great Miami River

A new report calls for the creation of a $250 million trust to fund water protection in Ohio.

Bottles of Lake Erie water are tested in a lab.
Brian Bull / WCPN

Researchers at the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) say they’ve begun testing water samples with the latest technology, following last summer’s water shutdown in Toledo.

Hundreds of swimmers will soon take to the lake as the weather warms up. And some swimmers will perhaps pause to ask: “How clean is the water? Are there contaminants, pollutants? Is there a risk of blue-green algae?”


TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — The mayor of Toledo has died five days after suffering cardiac arrest while driving during a snowstorm. A city spokeswoman, Stacy Weber, says Mayor D. Michael Collins died Friday at the University of Toledo Medical Center. The 70-year-old Collins was in his first term. He was a former police officer and City Council member.

Satellite view of toxic algal bloom on Lake Erie
NASA Earth Observatory

Toxic blue-green algae blooms, or cyanobacteria, are a growing problem in Ohio’s lakes, and grabbed the attention of the whole country after the bacteria shut down Toledo’s water system last summer.

Senator Sherrod Brown (right) compared algae-filled water with clear water on a recent visit to Stone Lab on Lake Erie. Researcher Justin Chaffin is on the left.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

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.

Collin O'Mara, President of the National Wildlife Federation, held up a glass of algae-filled water from Lake Erie after the toxins produced by the algae shut down Toledo's water system.
National Wildlife Federation Staff

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.

Full episode of WYSO Weekend for August 4, 2013 including the following stories:

- Officials Differ On Emergency Phone Alert During Yellow Springs Standoff, by Emily McCord

- Cityfolk Cancels 2014 Season, by Jerry Kenney

- Wildlife Boom in Local MetroParks, by Community Voices producer Ron Rollins

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.