Grand Lake St. Marys

Algae Toxin Prompts Warning At Southwest Ohio Lake

Jun 24, 2014

BATAVIA, Ohio (AP) - An advisory has been issued for swimmers at East Fork Lake in southwest Ohio because of a toxin produced by blue-green algae.

The advisory recommends that visitors who are very young, elderly or have compromised immune systems avoid swimming or wading at the lake in Clermont County, east of Cincinnati. The advisory issued Monday applies to the main beach and the campground beach.

Officials say state testing there found the toxin in concentrations higher than the levels at which it has been shown to affect the liver.

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

Algal blooms are once again causing problems for lakes and streams in Ohio this summer. But farmers are combating the situation, and so far, they’re getting some help from the weather.

When rain falls on farm fields that have been treated with fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus, whatever chemicals haven't soaked deep enough into the soil, or made their way into the crops, can end up in nearby streams and lakes. That runoff is feeding nutrients to harmful algal blooms. 

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.

Algae Treatment at Grand Lake Isn't Working

Oct 15, 2012

A two-year, $8.5 million project to stop toxic algae in Ohio's largest inland lake isn't working.
 
The 13,000-acre Grand Lake St. Marys in western Ohio was sprayed with aluminum sulfate in April that was supposed to keep the blue-green algae from feeding on phosphorous in the water. A similar treatment was applied last year.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that this year's treatment was spoiled by high winds that helped stir phosphorus-rich mud from the lake bottom.

Officials have posted signs at a western Ohio state park lake to warn visitors about toxic blue-green algae.

The state Department of Natural Resources posted the first signs of the year Thursday at four beaches in Grand Lake St. Marys.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the signs warn people with weak immune systems to not swim or walk through the water. It also warns elderly and young people to stay away.

Blue-green algae are common in most lakes but grow thick in sun-warmed water that contains phosphorus.

The state is awaiting water quality test results to determine whether it needs to post additional advisories about potential hazards at Ohio's largest inland lake, which has been plagued by toxic algae in recent years.

DrGBB

The National Center for Water Quality Research says the mild winter and spring temperatures could mean toxic blue-green algae will make its appearance in western Lake Erie earlier than usual.

Dr. David Baker says the algae will show up sooner if the water heats up more quickly. Another critical factor will be rainfall and the amount of fertilizer that runs into the lake from nearby farms.

Јerry

Ohio plans to treat all 13,000 acres of the state's largest inland lake with a chemical to try heading off the toxic algae blooms that become a perennial problem.

Multiple news outlets report that the state's Environmental Protection Agency is trying to pull together $5 million to spread aluminum sulfate, or alum, over Grand Lake St. Mary's in western Ohio.

Officials said in the fall that a test last year over part of the lake was more successful than expected and killed 56 percent of phosphorous in the treated area.

Јerry

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A toxic algae treatment in Ohio's largest inland lake over the summer was successful, the state's Environmental Protection Agency director says.

The agency has released a report that says the 3.3 million gallons of the chemical alum dropped into Grand Lake St. Marys was more successful than anticipated, killing 56 percent of phosphorous in the treated area.

Phosphorous feeds the blue-green toxic algae, which produces a nerve toxin that can sicken humans and kill pets and animals.

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