Algae Bloom on Lake Erie, August 2014

For at least fifty years, phytoplankton and algae blooms have been a regular occurrence in summer on Lake Erie.

The dominant organism in the Lake Erie bloom is Microcystis spp., a type of freshwater blue-green algae that produces a toxin harmful to humans. On August 2, 2014, environmental monitors for Toledo and surrounding towns in northwestern Ohio determined that public water supplies had levels of microcystin toxin that were higher than recommended by the World Health Organization. They warned residents not to drink or cook with tap water; boiling is not effective against the toxin. Though the bloom has continued, treatment facilities have since added extra filtering steps (including activated carbon), and public water sources were declared safe again on August 4.

Blooms of microcystis and other species of phytoplankton occur almost every summer on Lake Erie, where chemical nutrients (mainly phosphorous and nitrogen) are plentiful due to decades of runoff from farms and cities.

Uploaded by MicroscopeLens on 2014-08-07


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