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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, November 08, 2017 1:00 am

2017 Ohio algae bloom nearly record

Associated Press

TOLEDO – The toxic algae that spread across Lake Erie this summer roughly matched its third-most severe bloom in 15 years, government researchers said Tuesday.

The algae outbreak had two peaks this year in August and again in mid-September, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The algae left behind a thick, paint-like scum on the water surface that had covered about 280 square miles by September, but the entire bloom was much larger and stretched from Toledo to the shoreline along Ontario, and reached the mouth of the Detroit River, the agency said.

Researchers said it was roughly equal to the one in 2013 and much smaller than the record-setting outbreak in 2015.

The potentially toxic algae blooms that are fed by farm fertilizer runoff and municipal sewage overflows are a threat to drinking water, aquatic life and tourism.

Only twice have the blooms fouled public water supplies along western Lake Erie, but several cities must treat their water with chemicals each summer to combat the toxins.