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Cuyahoga County tries to get ahead of toxic algae
A summit following serious drinking water problems in Toledo aims to coordinate local resources

Kevin Niedermier
NASA satellite images of algae growth in Lake Erie.
Courtesy of Cuyahoga COunty
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In The Region:

Like Toledo, Cuyahoga County gets its drinking water from Lake Erie. And its leaders are preparing for the possibility of problems related to toxic algae blooms.
Today’s Summit follows the algae contamination last weekend off Toledo’s shore that left about a half-million people without water for nearly three days. WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports on the reaction.

LISTEN: Preparing for trouble

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Lake Erie’s deeper central basin is less likely to be hit with a toxic algae bloom like the one that struck the western basin near Toledo.

Still, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald hosted a summit of policy makers and officials from the region’s health, water treatment, and emergency management departments. The objective is a coordinated approach to the algae issue.  Kent State University professor Robert Heath studies Lake Erie’s eco-system. He told the gathering he believes the Cuyahoga County response is positive.

“I think we’ve learned that the various individual partners are separately prepared to handle their piece of the equation. What we also learned is that we need to come together into a summit where we actively integrate our various knowledge bases and concerns and interests in working together.”

The summit was an off-shoot of “Lake-Stat,” an on-going effort County Executive FitzGerald established last year to monitor Lake Erie’s condition.

Meanwhile, the Ohio EPA is considering a takeover of Toledo’s 73-year-old water treatment facility after the algae contamination crisis there.

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