Algal blooms prompt Lake Erie ‘impaired’ designation – Detroit News
Detroit News, 11/10/2016 – The state of Michigan is designating its section of Lake Erie as an impaired waterway because of damage to fish and other wildlife caused by harmful algal blooms, officials told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The declaration affects only the section of the lake under Michigan’s jurisdiction, which is less than 2 percent. But it was required under the federal Clean Water Act after shoreline monitoring and analysis of satellite imagery showed that the western Lake Erie basin was failing to meet Michigan water quality standards, said Heidi Grether, director of the state Department of Environmental Quality.
Outbreaks of blue-green algae — which is actually a type of bacteria that can produce toxins — have plagued the lake since the 1990s, at times coating large sections in pea-green slime.
Contamination in 2014 left more than 400,000 people in Toledo, Ohio, and parts of southeastern Michigan unable to drink tap water for two days. The 2015 bloom was the largest on record — covering an area the size of New York City.
A finding that a water body is impaired can lead to a federal order for stricter pollution controls, including a maximum amount of a contaminant that can exist in the water and regulation of industries and others who cause the pollution. (full story here)