The waters of Lake Erie are seen along the beach in Erieau on August 24, 2014. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

IJC Applauds Ohio’s Runoff Bill

A scientist with the International Joint Commission Great Lakes in Windsor applauds a move by Ohio to prevent toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie.

Algae blooms in the lake led to a three-day drinking water ban in Toledo and restrictions on well water in Pelee Island last summer.

The bill, finalized in Ohio’s Senate this week will restrict farmers from putting livestock manure on frozen fields, or when the forecast calls for heavy rain. There is phosphorus in the runoff from farmers fields that can lead to the algae blooms.

IJC scientist Rajesh Bejankiwar thinks most farmers will welcome the restrictions believing it to be good practice. However, cost may be a challenge. “I think they need some time in terms of cost for the storage facilities, storing the manure.”

Unfortunately, Bejankiwar says there are other contributors to the problem that the bill will not address like septic tanks, combined sewer overflow and wastewater treatment effluent. He does hope the bill will prompt other states and province to take similar action.

Ohio’s House and Senate still have to vote on Senate Bill 1.