Lake Erie Is Going Green - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Lake Erie Is Going Green

This summer will bring a return of green waters to parts of Lake Erie this year. The green waters have been around before, and occur due to the toxic algae Cyanobacteria. This is the scientific name for algae that is blue/green in color.

Cyanobacteria are naturally occurring, tiny organisms found on water surfaces. Occasionally, they multiply into numbers that become harmful to humans and other living organisms. The main culprit in forming cyanobacteria is phosphorus. Phosphorus is found in fertilizer run off which makes its way into the lake.

When phosphorus enters the water, it helps cyanobacteria to multiply which depletes water of its oxygen. This creates a dead zone where fish and other water life cannot survive. In addition to a harmful environment for water life, cities are forced to spend even more money to treat drinking water for the public.

Rainfall and warm waters will enhance the reproduction of the bacteria in the lake. There are no laws in place against phosphorus run off, though an advisory agency has recommended that the government requires "best management practices" to reduce the amount of phosphorus used by farmers.

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