Why hasn’t Chippewa Lake had any major harmful algae blooms in the last few years?
Although the lake has still had to close after heavy rainfall — which has been plentiful this year — due to E. coli in the water, that’s a fairly regular occurrence for any body of water.
Maybe the lack of blooms comes from the algaecide treatment from an Israeli company in August 2019.
Or maybe it’s just been luck, and the lake could have a bloom tomorrow.
Whatever it is, Medina County Park District officials know the root cause of the issue — high nutrient levels in the lake — still hasn’t been treated, and it’s likely only a matter of time before a major bloom happens again.
As the park district hopes to continue its streak bloom-free, it’s working with the state to try to help address the issue and is contemplating the future of Ohio’s largest inland glacial lake — and asking for the public’s input.
What is a harmful algae bloom?
According to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio Department of Health, cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) are a kind of photosynthetic bacteria commonly found in Ohio waters. Waters with excess nutrients, especially phosphorus and nitrogen, caused by pollutants can experience rapid growth in the cyanobacteria populations, leading to blooms.
While not all algae blooms are dangerous, harmful algae blooms are caused by a large growth of cyanobacteria that can produce cyanotoxins, which may affect the liver, nervous system or skin.
The blooms require specific conditions, including warm temperatures and sunlight, along with phosphorus and nitrogen, which are commonly found in animal and human waste and in fertilizers. They can enter lakes and streams from agricultural and residential lawn runoff, improperly functioning septic systems and erosion of nutrient-rich soil.
Harmful algae blooms have different colors (green, blue-green, brown, black, white, purple, red and black) and looks (like film, crust or puff balls at the surface; grass clippings or dots in the water; spilled paint, pea soup, foam, wool, streaks or green cottage cheese curd).
According to ODH, the blooms can produce toxic chemicals in the form of neurotoxins (nervous system), hepatotoxins (liver) and dermatoxins (skin). People and pets can be exposed by touching harmful algae blooms, swallowing water with cyanotoxins or breathing in water droplets.
They can cause an array of symptoms, including severe diarrhea and vomiting, liver or kidney toxicity, numbness, rashes and allergic reactions.
Dogs may have more severe symptoms than people, including collapse and sudden death, after drinking contaminated water or licking it from their fur, according to the Medina…