The Cincinnati Enquirer, Aug. 9
The opaque, slime-green water found in Toledo last weekend should be a wake-up call to residents in Ohio and across the country about the need to protect our natural resources.
The poisonous algae blooms that made water undrinkable - even untouchable - for nearly half a million Americans weren't an act of God, or a one-time fluke. They've become common in lakes across Ohio and around the country due to fertilizer and sewage runoff. Algae blooms are less likely to occur in the Ohio River because the river water moves quickly, and Greater Cincinnati Water Works - which handles water treatment for communities from Warren County to Northern Kentucky - is capable of filtering the toxins that fouled Lake Erie water. But the Ohio River still experiences occasional algae blooms, and excess nutrients from the Ohio eventually make their way into the Gulf of Mexico, where they help cause "dead zones" that can't support aquatic life.
Failure to act to improve water quality threatens public health; the toxins in Lake Erie water have made Ohioans sick and killed pets in other incidents. But fixing this problem should also be an economic priority....
There are solutions to this problem that require international and federal actions, but there are plenty of others that require action closer to home, from the Ohio General Assembly and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, to the decisions homeowners and business owners make every day.