Leaders of Michigan agricultural organizations said Thursday that the government should not have a “knee-jerk reaction” based on last weekend’s water ban in Toledo due to fertilizer run-off in Lake Erie, reports Fritz Klug of MLive.com.
“The phosphorus that caused the algae bloom didn’t just happen yesterday,” said Ken Nobis, president of the Michigan Milk Producers Association. “It took a long period of years to collect in the Lake Erie basin. We have done a lot in the past 10 years to reduce the amount of phosphorus feeding our farms.”
More than 400,000 residents in the area of Toledo, Ohio and southeast Michigan could not drink tap water two days last week because of an algae bloom in Western Lake Erie. Of those, 30,000 customers in Michigan’s Monroe County were affected.
Algae can grow larger when fed by fertilizers like phosphorus. In this case, the algae left behind toxins near where Toledo collects its drinking water. “It’s really difficult to say with in any sort of particular algae bloom what are the main causes,” said Tim Boring, research director, Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee. Temperatures, run offs, rainfall and other factors can all affect it.
The agriculture representatives said on a call with reporters that they want to be participate in any response to the problem.