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Environment & Energy

Algae Blooms Cost Ohio Homeowners More Than $150 Million


Ohio State University researchers have found that the state’s algae blooms not only seriously harm lakes, but property values of houses surrounding them.

The study finds those combined values for houses near four algae-infested lakes fell by more than $150 million from 2009 to 2015. Additionally, sales prices for houses adjacent to algae-affected Grand Lake St. Mary's and Buckeye Lake regions saw sale prices drop by more than 22 percent.

Lead author David Wolf says, aside from monitoring runoff, homeowners in those regions can take precautions to make sure the problem doesn’t get worse.

“Another important factor that causes poor water quality conditions is leaking septic systems. As a homeowner, it’s important that they make sure that not only their septic systems, but also their neighbor’s septic systems are not leaking this material into the lake.”

The study did not look at property values for the western Lake Erie region. A related study did find that algae blooms in Lake Erie caused 10 percent drops in sales of fishing licenses every time those blooms reached a moderate health risk.