Maryland Joins Toledo in Suffering from Harmful Algae Problems

"The crisis may have eased in Toledo, but the toxic algae in Lake Erie that contaminated the water supply for 500,000 people in Ohio continues to plague lakes and rivers across the country, including here in Maryland.

Lake Williston, a swimming hole for a Girl Scout camp in Caroline County, is off limits this summer because of  dangerous levels of a toxin in its water.  So is 75-acre Lake Needwood in Rock Creek Regional Park in Montgomery County.  Same for Northwest Creek, a 100-acre impoundment on Kent Island in Queen Anne's County.

They're all suffering from microcystis, the same toxin-producing blue-green algae that got into the Toledo area's water system last weekend and prompted warnings to residents not to drink from their taps for two days.

Harmful algal blooms are a major problem in all 50 states, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Variously known as red tides, blue-green algae or cyanobacteria, they can have severe impacts on human health, aquatic ecosystems and the economy."

Tim Wheeler reports for the Baltimore Sun August 6, 2014.

Thursday, August 7, 2014