Tests so far show only minor levels of the toxic algae that tainted Columbus’ drinking water earlier this year, city water managers said this week, though monitoring will ramp up as the weather and water get warmer…
The city has spent about $820,000 to clean its water after blue-green algae in Hoover Reservoir caused city drinking water to smell bad and taste funky. More than 1,700 customer complaints were logged.
It’s the same algae that plague Lake Erie, Grand Lake St. Marys and Buckeye Lake every summer.
Blue-green algae, also called cyanobacteria, are common in most Ohio lakes. They grow thick by feeding on phosphorus from manure, fertilizers and sewage that rain washes from farm fields into nearby streams.
As many as 19 public lakes, including Erie and central Ohio’s Buckeye, have been tainted in recent years by toxic algae.
Algae grew so thick in Grand Lake in 2010 that the state warned people not to touch the water. Officials say it likely caused seven people to get sick that year.
The Columbus bloom never got that serious, said Rod Dunn, water-quality-assurance laboratory manager with the Columbus Division of Water. But it did raise questions about how the city protects the drinking water here.
Tests this year have shown some blue-green algae in Columbus-area water, but so far those levels aren’t cause for concern, Dunn said.
“Every year, it’s normal to see low numbers of cyanobacteria. It’s only when they get really numerous and out of control that they become a problem,” Dunn said.
He said city officials have increased the number of tests they run for chemicals in the streams and rivers that lead to the city’s reservoirs, and city water officials have been working with area farmers to find alternate ways to grow and feed their crops.
Dunn said the city now performs tests at as many as 18 sites along the Scioto River north of the O’Shaughnessy Reservoir alone. It used to test at 11 sites.
View original article at: Columbus on lookout for toxic algae in water supply