Don’t let politics get in way of algae fix

In her letter last Saturday, Dawn Busalacchi proposed a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study be done for Lake Erie to determine the maximum amount of phosphorus the lake can receive and still be safe…

Although that is the ideal scientific approach to this problem, I know that it is politically impractical.

I tried to proceed in this direction when I was the chief of the Division of Surface Water at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, but agriculture interests objected and the idea was dropped.

In addition, such a study would take several years to complete and, even then, it likely would not be implemented for years, because those opposed would challenge it in court.

There is another option: Scientists at the EPA came up with a simple solution to reduce the phosphorus load from agriculture fields that apply sewage sludge.

To use this approach, agricultural producers would be required to test soil in their fields for phosphorus, and if the concentration exceeds certain values, they would be prohibited from applying manure or fertilizer that contains phosphorus.

Ohio has tried the voluntary approach and it has not worked. We tried throwing money at problem in Grand Lake St. Marys and that did not work.

Communities continue to spend millions of dollars to remove and treat algae toxins from the water Ohio families drink, yet manure continues to flow from farm fields, and politicians keep proposing unworkable solutions just to give the impression that they are doing something.

The scientists have done their part. Now it is the time for politicians and high-level bureaucrats to choose between the people of Ohio and the special-interest groups. Delay and diversion tactics that were used in the past to avoid making the right decisions should stop.

View original article at: Don’t let politics get in way of algae fix


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