Time to put a stop to algae problem

As Lake Erie water users further east of blue-green algae victim Toledo, this bloom is a concern of ours as well.

Given that August is prime time for when Lake Erie's water temperature spikes, it is far more likely than not how Northeast Ohio's Lake Erie coast will suffer the same as has Toldeo.

How in this day and age nearly 500,000 Ohioans can be deprived of safe drinking water because of human folly, neglect and politics is more than just a head shaker. It is something that happens in a developing country, not in the world's richest nation.

And yet here we are; watching as Lake Erie again falls prey to yet another toxic goo of blue-green algae, threatening human health.

And along with that horror, making Ohio appear once more unable, unwilling, or impotent to take the environmental bull by the horns and truly do something meaningful with the necessary sharpened teeth to ensure this will be the last such bloom.

What is not acceptable are the so-called voluntary efforts directed at western Ohio agricultural interests that include chemical companies – and to a lesser degree, municipal water purification systems and home lawn care services.

No one is arguing as to the nature of how this bloom thrives. It lusts after the high nitrogen levels and other chemical sources that come from the application of fertilizers on crops, particularly row crops that are commonly grown in western Ohio.

With today's road-to-road plowing and the high dependence on fertilizers along with the lack of protective vegetation along ditches, streams, rivers and such this mix of chemicals pour into the 130-mile long Maumee River chiefly and other streams such as the Sandusky River.

Even our own Grand River contributes, though no where near what toxic soup roils out of the massive 5,024-square mile Maumee watershed.

And say what one wants to about the federal and Ohio EPAs but these agencies are on the front line of efforts to thwart the infusion of nitrogen-eating blue-green algae. Bravo to these bureaus that are too often and unfairly depicted as intrusive government organs by elements of the Tea Party and other like-minded environmental Neanderthals and similar nitwits.

Good heavens, have not the lessons of June 22, 1969 when oil-soaked wood and other flotsam on the Cuyahoga River caught fire been so forgotten that we dare allow special interests to deprive people one of two of humanities' most critical needs, that being clean water?

Given that the latest clean water crisis is now over for Toledo and declared by that city's mayor the issue remains a serious flash point that very well may reignite. Maybe not in Toledo. Perhaps in Lorain or Cleveland, Lake County or Ashtabula.

Thus, it is way past time to lay down the legislative gauntlet and ensure that human health does not take a back seat to the powerful interests of Ohio's Number One industry: Agri-business.

Categories: OhiBlogs, Ohio – Jeffrey Frischkorn

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