The Lakes

The Great Lakes -- Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Superior -- are among the most important bodies of water in the world. They are the largest readily accessible source of freshwater on Earth – roughly 20 percent of the total supply -- and contain more than 80 percent of North America’s surface water supply.

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Researchers aim for faster water contamination test

Jul 18, 2018

Many are heading to the beach to escape the hot temperatures this summer, only to find the water is closed. Now, a group of researchers is trying out a new method that could deliver water testing results faster.


Elizabeth Miller/ideastream

Scientists predict a significant harmful algae bloom for western Lake Erie this year.

The forecast, a joint effort between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Heidelberg University and other partners, predicts a bloom severity of six on a 10-point scale. That would be better than last year, but worse than 2016.

NOAA GLERL

An algae bloom was identified in Lake Erie’s central basin this week, causing increased testing and increased caution at Cleveland’s beaches.

Toxin concentrations were high only one day last week. On Friday, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District detected a concentration of 10 parts per billion at Edgewater Beach. Ohio’s recreational threshold is 6 parts per billion.

In August 2015, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha was having a glass of wine in her kitchen with two friends, when one friend, a water expert, asked if she was aware of what was happening to the water in Flint, Mich.

Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician in Flint, knew that the city had changed its water source the previous year. Instead of channeling water from the Great Lakes, residents were now drinking water from the nearby Flint River. She had been aware of some problems with bacteria after the switch, but she thought everything had been cleared up.

Elizabeth Miller/ideastream

Lisa Kenion lives in Euclid, Ohio, right off of Lake Erie. She’s a member of the Moss Point Beach Club, a neighborhood with a private little patch of lakefront property.

“Every Friday night, if the weather is good in the summer, there’s a group of people that come down and we watch the sunset together,” Kenion said.

But a recent storm threatened the beach club’s lakefront oasis.


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