Fertilizer runoff contributing to toxic algae blooms - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Fertilizer runoff contributing to toxic algae blooms

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Phosphorus in fertilizer could be the blame for algae bloom. (Source: KELO-TV) Phosphorus in fertilizer could be the blame for algae bloom. (Source: KELO-TV)
(WOIO) -

Many people in Northwest Ohio were forced to go without water for days. As lives get back to normal, many questions are remaining.

There's toxin from algae in Lake Erie, and some experts point to the fertilizer used by farmers.

Since phosphorous from fertilizer appears to be the blame for Toledo's recent water emergency, we had to ask why it is still being used. 

Larry Antosch with the Ohio Farm Bureau says it's necessary for plants like Ohio's soybeans and corn.

"If we eliminate phosphorous we won't be able to grow plants we have, at least to levels we are now, in terms of crops," he said.

Antosch said until there's an alternative, they're focusing efforts on reducing the runoff that leaves the fields and winds up in the lake.

"By putting in various conservation practices; grass waterways, or repairing buffers, incorporating the fertilizer shortly after its applied, we can reduce off-sight transportation," said Antosch.

In conjunction with efforts to be more responsible with fertilizer there's legislation in the works that will require farmers to take a class and get certified in order to apply it.

"If we put on too much fertilizer and we lose it and it goes into the water…well it's a loss for us to. It's our job to preserve the ground, preserved ground actually produces more," said Northwest Ohioan, Keith Van Horn.

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