Is our drinking water quality threatened here in the Great Lakes region?

Have you ever seen the “nasty green slime” – properly known as a harmful algal bloom, or HAB in Lake Erie? Remember the July 31, 2014 “Do Not Drink/Do Not Boil” public health warning messages in Toledo? Tests revealed that the algae was producing microcystin, a sometimes deadly liver toxin and suspected carcinogen.

Experts say that without properly addressing the issues of high nutrient pollution (nitrogen and phosphorus which stimulate the growth of algae) from sewage, agriculture and suburban runoff, and high water temperatures (linked to climate change) these warnings could become more frequent across our region.

Dr. Joseph D. Ortiz, a professor and assistant chair in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Geology at Kent State University, recently co-authored an article addressing this topic in the online magazine "The Conversation" with his colleague Dr. Gabriel Filippelli, Professor of Earth Sciences and Director of the Center for Urban Health at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).  

To read their full article, “Climate change threatens drinking water quality across the Great Lakes” visit: https://theconversation.com/climate-change-threatens-drinking-water-quality-across-the-great-lakes-131883

The good news is that the authors say that recent success stories point to strategies for tackling these problems, at least at the local and regional levels. Large infrastructure projects to improve stormwater management and municipal sewer systems, green infrastructure projects (such as green roofs, infiltration gardens and reclaimed wetlands) and the use of smart technologies and improved remote sensing methods for HABs, might help avert crises.

This article was also featured on Discover Magazine's web site at: https://www.discovermagazine.com/environment/climate-change-threatens-drinking-water-quality-across-the-great-lakes

To learn more about Dr. Ortiz’s research, visit: http://www.personal.kent.edu/~jortiz

Media Contacts:
Joseph Ortiz, jortiz@kent.edu, phone: 330-672-2225

POSTED: Thursday, April 30, 2020 - 5:57pm
UPDATED: Friday, May 15, 2020 - 4:55pm
WRITTEN BY:
Jim Maxwell