Current Event: EPA suggests triggers for warning of algae in drinking water
Up to 48 million people nationwide get drinking water from lakes and reservoirs that could become filled with toxins generated by algae-like bacteria.
Water plant operators and other officials could use the guidelines as benchmarks for triggering actions such as stepped-up monitoring, treating water to reduce toxins or issuing health advisories.
Pollution from cyanobacteria, otherwise known as blue-green algae, in Lake Erie left more than 400,000 people in northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan without usable tap water for two days last August.
Climate change and higher levels of nutrients such as phosphorus may be reason for a rising number of algae contamination cases, scientists say.
A number of states, including Ohio, Oregon, Minnesota, Florida and Oklahoma, have their own standards, most based on a 1 ppb limit recommended by the World Health Organization in 1998 and used by more than a dozen countries.
EPA: whose 50,000 members produce 80 percent of the nation’s drinking water.
Goal:stronger action to cut down on phosphorus and other nutrients that cause algal pollution.