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Lake Erie’s algae bloom is growing again after paralyzing Toledo water system (via Bridge)

GIBRALTAR ISLAND, Ohio  — Four years ago, 400,000 residents of Ohio and Southeast Michigan learned the green muck infesting Lake Erie each summer is not only a nuisance but can also wreak havoc.

Known as harmful algal blooms, the deep green ooze grows by the mile each year, fed by phosphorus-rich runoff from farm fields. Though not always toxic, the eyesores gunk up beaches, choke marine life, and became far more serious in August 2014.

That’s when Toledo’s water system sucked up cyanobacteria (known as blue-green algae, though it’s technically not algae) and contaminated drinking water with microcystin, a toxin that can cause liver and kidney damage. The scare prompted residents to rely on bottled water for three more.