After the flood: Swimming, algae, and your health

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The cleanup is only the beginning. All that water could lead to health problems for your family. flooded rivers pick up things like bacteria and pollution.

The newest Lake Erie algae forecast came out yesterday and shows a much bigger algae bloom than anything we had last summer. While these floodwaters will temporarily cool down Lake Erie, we'll already have algae visible.

"For the algae to use them and explode in population," Dr. Mike McKay said of the newfound nutrients in Erie, left from floodwaters.

Dr. Mike McKay says that should happen soon, as silty floodwater clears and western Lake Erie hits 75 degrees.

"Already prior to the rain we had last week or even last week, we knew it was going to be a sizeable bloom," McKay said.

McKay says these flooded rivers act as a supercharger for algae food. Still, algae is missing calm wind and lots of light.

"That's the key ingredient for algae to grow: just like crops: light," Dr. McKay said. "You have light, you have nutrients, you have water, you've got carbon dioxide, that's the whole equation."

The sediment that is turning this floodwater brown will soon sink to the bottom of Lake Erie, after it reaches the end of the Ottawa River. But the same is not the case for bacteria and water-soluble nutrients.

"Storm-water, overflow of those combined storm-water and sewer grates that get overflowed, when it flooded. Farm wash-off, manure wash off that gets into our water," Jen Gottschalk said.

Jen Gottschalk works at the Lucas County Health Department. And simply for your own health...

"You don't want to be in the floodwater. There's a risk of contamination, of becoming ill," Gottschalk said.

She says check the Ohio BeachGuard website, which instantly updates you on nasties like E Coli.

"That's an indication that something needs to be posted at the beach," Gottschalk said.

Because the high waters won't hit Erie fully for a week or so, we don't know the exact impact to your health yet.