News Feature | August 25, 2014

Toxic Algae Prep A Priority In Michigan

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome


Ottawa County, MI, wants to be ready if toxic algae strikes.

At a recent meeting, officials considered what to do if the county's water plant got shut down as a result of toxic algae. This situation played out in real life this month in Toledo, OH.

Planning for the safety of local schools was a top priority in Ottawa County. 

"Although school is still out for the summer, harmful algae traditionally show up in August and continues into September, when school would be back in session. In recent years, the algae has started blooming as early as July," the Port Clinton News Herald reported

 Officials anticipated that the school would only need enough water to dole out to students and cook food in the cafeteria, the report said. 

"As long as they have enough clean water on hand, schools would not have to shut down if toxic algae made Ottawa County's water unsafe to drink," the News Herald reported, citing a local official.

Ottawa County was not as prepared last year. Last September, "2,000 customers of a Northwest Ohio water supplier were told not to drink what came out of their taps," the Akron Beacon Journal reported

"Carroll Township Water and Sewer District in Ottawa County between Toledo and Port Clinton, became the first drinking water supplier in Ohio to have its product banned because of algal toxins, which can be as harmful as cobra venom or cyanide," the report said. 

In nearby Sandusky, MI, testing is a key part of the town's algae preparedness strategy. 

 Sandusky "began carrying out regular tests for a toxin produced by harmful algal blooms, joining an alliance of other Lake Erie communities along the western basin battling a growing threat," the Sandusky Register reported

Chicago is on the lookout for toxic algae, as well.

"Chicago is now re-testing their water samples from Lake Michigan. The problem is a national one, as harmful algae blooms exist in every coastal state," The New Republic reported.

For more on policy and politics, check out Water Online's Regulations & Legislation Solution Center

Image credit: "Blue-green Algae," Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources © 2014, used under an Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license:

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