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Cleveland Council will take a closer look at Lake Erie's algae threat
The head of Public Utilities Committee wants to learn as much as possible
Story by BRIAN BULL


 
Cleveland City Council members will be taking a boat tour to learn about the algae problem up close.
Courtesy of Brian Bull
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Members of Cleveland's City Council will spend the day around Lake Erie's western half tomorrow to learn about toxic algae blooms and how to prevent them. For Ohio Public Radio, WCPN's Brian Bull reports.

LISTEN: Council members to spend time with Toledo researchers

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Small algae blooms have recently turned up in the Cleveland area but their toxicity levels have been low. Still, Terrell Pruitt, chairman of Cleveland City Council’s Public Utilities Committee, says he and other committee members want to learn as much as they can about algae growth on Lake Erie to help address any potential threats locally.

“Just like we had the same issues with our water quality at the turn of the 20th century, that escalated with the infamous river catching on fire, it took us 40 years to get cleaned up to the point where now we have a beautiful lakefront. I don’t want to repeat the same history," says Pruitt. 

Pruitt and his peers will learn from University of Toledo researchers about efforts to monitor the lake and take a boat tour to see the algae growth up close.

Pruitt says he eventually wants the city to explore intensive monitoring of nutrient runoff from farms and factories, which could also include imposing fees on significant “contributors” across the northeast region. 

Last summer, weather conditions including strong winds blew a threatening level of microcystins into Toledo’s drinking water supply, causing a nearly three-day shutdown of the system.

Cleveland has generally been safer from the thick algae growth that peaks this time of year because this part of the lake is deeper, with cooler water and reduced susceptibility to phosphates and other nutrients that run off from farms.

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