Low levels of toxins reported
Algal toxins got many headlines with numerous algae blooms statewide in 2010. It has been quieter over the past two years, but it’s clear that low levels of the toxins have been found across Ohio.
Public water supplies reporting low levels of toxins this year include Oregon, Findlay, Clyde, Celina, Put-in-Bay, Sandusky, Galion, Clermont County, Caldwell, Elyria, Fostoria, Lorain, Paulding, Bowling Green, Bucyrus and Lima.
State parks reporting toxins in 2013 include parks on Lake Erie plus inland parks Grand Lake St. Marys, Buckeye Lake, Madison Lake, Buck Creek, East Fork Lake, Lake Hope, Dillon Lake and Lake Alma.
This summer, algal toxins have triggered warnings at four state park beaches: Maumee Bay on Lake Erie near Toledo, East Fork east of Cincinnati, Buckeye Lake east of Columbus and Grand Lake St. Marys in west-central Ohio.
The orange-coded warnings advise the elderly, children and those with compromised immune systems that swimming and wading is not recommended because toxin levels exceed the state’s recommended threshold. Those warnings get posted at 6 parts per billion of microcystin.
The state imposes a no-contact advisory when levels for microcystin hit 20 parts per billion. That red-coded advisory also requires one or more probable cases of human illness or pet deaths linked to the blooms.
The warnings will be lifted after additional testing shows that the algae are not a health threat.
Ohio only tests its state parks with beaches.
The state limit for drinking water is 1 part per billion of microcystin. But testing is not required.
— Bob Downing