[USA] A $2.1 million federal grant announced Wednesday will help protect Lake Erie’s drinking water by better detecting bacteria caused by harmful algal blooms.
The Cleveland Water Alliance will work with the Great Lakes Observing System and a Michigan-based tech company on the three-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They plan to finish an online web portal for water quality data and add new instruments in the lake to detect toxins before they reach water treatment plants.
And a separate $500,000 U.S. EPA grant announced Tuesday will help clean up the Black River in Lorain, to improve water quality in the lake.
“These funds will help Lorain continue existing efforts to clean up the Black River and create new economic opportunities along on an important coastal waterway,” U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur said in the announcement.
The news comes on the heels of an assessment of Ohio, Michigan and Ontario’s 2015 pledge to reduce the annual harmful algal blooms that coat Lake Erie’s western basin in icky, stick green slime each September.
The Alliance for the Great Lakes found all three were falling short in efforts toward the goal of lowering the amount of phosphorus flowing into the lake by 40 percent by 2025.
This year’s bloom blossomed quickly, with a record heat streak in September, covering almost the entire western basin of the lake, with shoots as far east Lorain County. It rated about a 7.5 on a 10-point scale, about the same as in 2013.
In 2014, Toledo residents went without drinking water for three days because of the algae bloom. And each year the bloom hurts tourism, a $14 billion industry along Lake Erie, and worries the 3 million Ohioans who get their drinking water from the lake.
The non-profit Cleveland Water Alliance manages multiple programs aimed to create a ‘smart lake’ by working on advanced networking, sensors, and analytics for Lake Erie.
“This is a great opportunity to drive innovation, create jobs and improve the care of one of our nation’s greatest natural assets: Lake Erie,” Cleveland Water Alliance Executive Director Bryan Stubbs said.
In May, the alliance worked with NASA Glenn Research Center, the Great Lakes Observing System and others to present $100,000 in cash and prizes to teams addressing Lake Erie’s problems at the first U.S. Erie Hack Competition and Water Innovation Summit in downtown Cleveland.
It’s hosting another event this month.
Photo: The Cleveland Water Alliance is working with LimnoTech of Ann Arbor to deploy new monitoring devices in Lake Erie to track bacteria and the harmful algal bloom.(Cleveland Water Alliance)
View original article at: $2.6 million in federal grants aim to protect Lake Erie