Local expert discusses how to identify toxic algae in pools, ponds

Published: Jul. 3, 2023 at 5:51 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Some people will be spending the 4th of July on the water but with how toxic algal blooms are this time of year, it leaves people wondering if being on the water is safe.

According to the National Weather Service, Lake Erie is currently free from any toxic algal blooms. However, toxic algae can also grow in smaller bodies of water such as pools and ponds.

Harmful algal blooms are recognizable by the blue-green hue they leave in the water. But, experts say just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

“The United States EPA says that water is toxic when it contains over 20 thousand cells per milliliter and over 20 thousand cells per milliliter looks like this. It looks clean,” said Lucia Ross, who works for BlueGreen Water Technologies. “You can’t see it with the naked eye.”

BlueGreen Water Technologies is a company that treats water to protect against algal blooms. Ross says there are other ways to identify toxic algae besides color.

“When you observe the water, maybe if you put water in a bottle and you see little, tiny floating pieces of aggregate, that’s a sign,” said Ross. “Definitely if you smell anything like a rotten egg smell or a garbage smell, you want to keep away from that.

Ross says scum or foam on the surface of the water is also a sign you should stay away.

You can learn more about toxic algal blooms and how to identify through the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

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