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Concerted effort needed to protect Lake Erie water

Lake Erie’s algae problem keeps getting worse. The United States and Canada need to set reduction goals in each river watershed, similar to the Chesapeake plan, in order to save Lake Erie.

Voluntary efforts are being relied on as the solution for Lake Erie. Government and private dollars are scattered in a haphazard way throughout the Lake Erie watershed with no focus on where the dollars can yield the greatest reductions in algae, phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment.

Drinking water intakes in the lake’s western basin are incurring growing amounts of the algal toxic microcystin with no U.S. standards, only World Health Organization limits. Testing is optional – the plants do their best. Plans to protect drinking water intakes are old or do not exist. Microcystin is a huge threat to businesses and residents.

Who is the go-to person, designated by the United States and Canada, in charge of saving Lake Erie? Why don’t we know the volume of nutrients from the Detroit River, which is 90 percent of Lake Erie’s water? What is the source and amount of nutrients coming into the lake from fertilizer, manure, wastewater and stormwater from each tributary? What are the targets for reduction? Where is the report card?

The Great Lakes have a continuing black eye from the burning of the Cuyahoga. Millions not being able to drink Lake Erie water with no alternative source will be far worse.

Sandy Bihn

Oregon, Ohio