Algae Found in Lake Near Erie Tests Positive for Toxin, Not a Health Threat Yet
Biologists are continuing to monitor a massive algae patch that was discovered in Lake Erie.
The algae was found Wednesday by George Bullerjahn, a Bowling Green State University biology professor.
"We were surprised to see where it was," said Bullerjahn. "Typically, you see blooms in the western part of the lake and we saw microsystin visiting the surface near north east of Erie."
According to Bullerjahn, the algae discovered 10 miles from the shore of Erie tested positive for a toxin, but it does not pose any health threat.
"It's a patch about six to eight miles long and it only happens because it was very, very calm, so we were surprised to see it," said Bullerjahn. "We took a sample an we detected low levels of microsystin and toxins. I don't feel that it is a health threat at all. I just think it's a noteworthy observation, that means we need to be diligent."
Toxic algae blooms form each year in western Lake Erie near Toledo, where high nutrients are more likely to combine with warm, shallow water during summer to form blooms.
"One possibility that's been raised, I think might make sense, is that this could have actually started as a bloom in Presque Isle Bay, that was pushed out into the lake by rain events." said Bullerjahn. "What this tells me, is that we need to be vigilant in looking at other parts of the lake where with climate change and rainfall patterns changing, we got to be basically covering more of the lake and making better effort in tracking these events."
High concentrations of toxic algae contaminated Toledo-area drinking water systems in 2014, forcing it to shut down for several days.
In 2013, the microcystin algal toxin produced by cyanobacteria was discovered in Presque Isle Bay.