Study: Keep tabs on algae in central Lake Erie

Harmful algal blooms aren’t just a thing in western Lake Erie. They happen in the lake’s central basin too, and when they do, they sometimes produce toxins.

So says a new study led by Justin Chaffin of CFAES’ Stone Laboratory, which set out to learn more about the central basin’s less-studied blooms, including what drives them and whether they produce toxins called cyanobacterial toxins. The toxins, which can threaten human health, must be removed by facilities that treat drinking water.

‘Continued monitoring recommended’

In short, the study concluded that the central basin should keep its guard up.

“Continued monitoring of cyanobacteria and multiple cyanobacterial toxins is recommended to ensure safe drinking water for (central basin) coastal communities,” Chaffin and his coauthors wrote in the study’s abstract.

Communities along the lake’s central basin include Huron, Lorain, Cleveland, and Ashtabula.

Read the full study, which appeared this month in the Journal of Great Lakes Research.

The study was supported by Ohio’s Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative.

Lake Erie’s western, central, and eastern basins together provide drinking water to about 11 million people, says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (Photo: Skyline of Cleveland on Lake Erie, Getty Images.)

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