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Author Topic: Pollution  (Read 14454 times)

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AGelbert

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Re: Pollution
« Reply #690 on: June 03, 2018, 06:39:10 pm »
Across U.S., Toxic Blooms Pollute Lakes

By Bill Walker, Editor in Chief and Emily Wathen, Digital Journalist

TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2018

SNIPPET:

TOLEDO, Ohio – In the middle of a muggy summer night, Keith Jordan got an urgent text: Toledo’s tap water wasn’t safe to drink.

“I thought it was a joke," said Jordan, who works with at-risk youth in Toledo’s inner city. He went back to sleep. When he got up a few hours later, he took a shower and had a cup of coffee, then turned on the news.

“They were saying don't drink the water, don’t take a shower – the water is messed up,” Jordan said. “You couldn’t even touch the water. It was something you could not believe was happening here in Toledo.”

That was Aug. 2, 2014. For the next three days, half a million people in and around this industrial city at the western edge of Lake Erie scrambled to find safe water.


Many drove hours across state borders to stand in long lines at stores that hadn’t sold out of bottled water. Some stores were charging $40 for a case of water that usually costs less than $5. Jordan, unaffected by his shower and coffee, helped set up distribution centers for free water, and helped deliver it to seniors and mothers with babies. The National Guard sent tanker trucks full of drinking water to the city.

The panic was set off by a toxin called microcystin, the byproduct of an enormous bloom of blue-green algae that had invaded Lake Erie. The bloom – technically not algae, but photosynthetic single-celled organisms called cyanobacteria – blanketed vast expanses of the lake with what looked like thick, sickly green split-pea soup. It was triggered by chemical pollution from farm fertilizers and industrial sources into the lake, which supplies the region’s tap water.




Toledo was the first large U.S. city where toxic blooms made tap water unsafe for human consumption. But it may not be the last.

No government agency collects nationwide data on toxic blooms. But EWG’s research found news reports of almost 300 blooms in lakes, rivers and bays in 48 states and the Gulf of Mexico since 2010. Based on those reports, the problem appears to have worsened over the past few years.

In 2010, there were just three reports of toxic blooms in the U.S. In 2015, there were 15, including the largest to date in Lake Erie, although the bacteria did not get into Toledo’s drinking water. In 2016, there were 51, including a huge bloom in Florida that prompted the state to declare an emergency in four counties on the Atlantic Coast. Last year, 169 blooms were reported. And in March, Ohio Gov. John Kasich declared the open waters of western Lake Erie “impaired for recreation” – an unprecedented designation that under the federal Clean Water Act will require the development and enforcement of plans to reduce toxic blooms.



EWG’s interactive nationwide map shows locations of reported toxic blooms in green. Orange locations have links to vivid satellite photos of blighted lakes from California to Florida.

Full EWG article with interactive map of affected areas:

https://www.ewg.org/toxicalgalblooms/
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