An algae bloom sounds like something you may see in your local conservatory, but in reality it’s a cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that can produce toxins that can pose a risk to drinking water, cause skin irritation, and negatively affect wildlife, pets and livestock. To the eye it is a green slime that coats the surfaces of lakes and blooms annually with varying levels of danger that is measured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on a scale of 1 to 10.
This summer on Lake Erie, the algae bloom is being listed as a 7.5 on the severity scale. This means higher costs and higher precautions. Cities must make sure that the water is suitable for consumption, and citizens eating fish from the lake must make sure that it’s thoroughly cleaned before eating.
This algae is caused by a number of factors; at the top of list is phosphorus getting into the water through farmland and lawns chemicals. People need to be very aware of what is washing down the storm drains and which chemicals they're using on lawns and crops.
To avoid exposure to the algae, pay attention to water advisories and thoroughly clean fish from Lake Erie, removing the gills, guts, scales, and skin, leaving only the fillet for consumption.