"After a celebrated comeback from abysmal water conditions and high pollution levels in the 1970s, Lake Erie is regressing to the highest levels of phosphorous contamination in 40 years, a Great Lakes expert said on Thursday."
"'Levels are back-up to when it was considered a dead lake,' said Jeff Reutter, director of the Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory at Ohio State University, speaking at the State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference in Erie, Pennsylvania.
He said the lake is experiencing phosphorous levels equal to those of the 1970s, after levels had been reduced by two-thirds in the mid-1990s.
Reutter believes storms and heavy rains contribute to the high levels of phosphorous, a nutrient found in many commercial detergents, water treatments and agricultural fertilizers. The phosphorous gets into the lake through run-off.
When mixed with warm waters, phosphorous creates an ideal condition for the huge algae blooms seen in a number of the Great Lakes."