Skip to main content

Lake Erie
Algae bloom in Lake Erie
Toledo, Ohio, Mayor D. Michael Collins announced at a press conference Monday that the ban on drinking tap water for some 500,000 local residents has been lifted. "Our water is safe," the mayor said. And then he drank a glass to show he believes what he said. He urged citizens to flush their pipes before using the water for drinking or cooking.

The ban had been imposed because a blue-green algae bloom called microcystis produced a toxin that managed to get past the city's treatment system and taint the water supply. The toxin can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and damage to the liver and the body's immune system. Although there are no state or federal standards for an allowable level of microcystin in drinking water, the World Health Organization has set a provisional guideline of 1.0 part per billion.

Growth of algae blooms explodes in summer when temperatures are right. They feed on nutrients in waste, including phosphorous from leaky septic systems and sewer pipe discharges, as well as run-off from farms and feedlots.

While many residents were no doubt relieved after scurrying around all weekend to buy supplies of bottled water, not everybody is happy with the way the situation has been handled, Kiley Kroh reports at Think Progress.

There's more below the fold.

5:30 PM PT: The report has been released here.

For instance, Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who represents Ohio's 9th District, which encompasses Toledo, was critical of a lack of transparency. She told the Toledo Blade:

In all the meetings we've been in, we've been given nothing. Every time I asked [the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] to provide information, they defered to the Ohio EPA. We've not been given anything tangible. [...] I'm calling on the U.S. EPA to release its findings.
The figures provided to the media put the range of contamination at 1.5 ppb to 2.5 ppb, with an apparent spike to 3 ppb that Kaptur said was mentioned by an EPA official during a conference call.
“What exactly they’re doing is pretty much ambiguous right now,” said Andrew Whelton, an environmental engineer who recently conducted federally-funded research on the toxic effect of West Virginia’s massive chemical contamination, on Sunday evening. Whelton said he was troubled most by the fact that the public has been kept in the dark regarding which tests are being done and the data being used as the basis for official decisions. “The emergency response officials and the politicians have basically assumed complete control for all decisions of this process and there’s zero transparency,” he said. [...]
Kroh reported that Kaptur told her:
Today there’s a sense of relief but also there is a lingering doubt as to what’s going to happen now. I really think we need a professional approach in engaging those who are the most knowledgeable and not secretive or obfuscating but enlightening the public because this is going to take a gigantic regional effort to prevent further damage.”
Transparency can go a long way in building credibility for, and trust in, agencies charged with dealing with such crises. But the general tendency of governments to come to decisions behind closed doors is deeply ingrained. Citizens, whether in Toledo or elsewhere, ought to work to get rid of that reflexive approach in their public servants.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 02:33 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  After the fiasco in North Carolina (22+ / 0-)

    last year, it's amazing to me that anyone would take this "move along, nothing to see here, the water's fine" stuff at face value.

    "Tea is soothing. I wish to be tense." - Rupert Giles

    by CelticOm on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 02:44:52 PM PDT

  •  I am LESS than pleased about this premature (17+ / 0-)

    eutrophication bioevent.

    People who have had no potable water are only 40 miles away from me, and my county gets its water from the same (great) lake.

    The number of times in history that the concentration of Microcystis ssp. was great enough to necessitate shutting off consumers' supply of water here? None - this is a first.

    Every day, I get up and pray to Jah . . take the skinheads bowling . . take them bowling . .

    by thenekkidtruth on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 02:58:01 PM PDT

  •  Check back with Hizzoner in 24 hours... n/t (8+ / 0-)

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 03:05:02 PM PDT

  •  Not Releasing Test Results Unacceptable (17+ / 0-)

    We'll know soon enough if the water is actually "safe" to drink. if it isn't, Mayor Collins will be judged reckless and irresponsible. End of his political career.

    For starters, what proof do we have the Mayor was actually drinking tap water?

    "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

    by Superpole on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 03:06:50 PM PDT

  •  Deferring to the OHIO EPA???? (13+ / 0-)

    Protection --yeahhh, THAT's the ticket, yeahhhh, proTECtion.

    Effluent Promotion Agency is closer to it.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 03:18:36 PM PDT

  •  Transparency, who needs that? (5+ / 0-)

    I was under the impression you could request a copy of the most recent and detailed water quality analysis from your municipal supply. For free. That's how its been in various places I've lived, maybe its different up there. Just checked the city's website and they still haven't published this years analysis. Last years report is dated as revised on 7/7. Something smells fishy.

    What do you despise? By this you are truly known.

    by jamott on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:04:47 PM PDT

  •  Green Slime......great Nipponese movie. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DontTaseMeBro, julesrules39
  •  The comment that I just posted on Michael Brune's (7+ / 0-)

    post is appropriate here.

    I don't know if you had a chance to see The Ed Show on MSNBC today ... they have a State Rep. Chris Taylor (D-WI) who just attended the ALEC conference, which is funded in part by fossil fuel polluters who want to put a stop to clean energy development.  She stated that they were "apoplectic" about the new EPA clean air rules.  Furthermore, she indicated  that some states might just ignore the new EPA rules.

    With groups like ALEC writing legislation in most states, we are setting ourselves up for a very painful future.

    When states start running out of water and realize that they have to shut down their power plants, the public is going to be asking why their leaders didn't roll out more wind and solar PV to conserve water earlier.

    There's hundreds of thousands of people in America (Detroit, Toledo, WV, NC and Texas) who should know by now that even water isn't a basic human right in the minds of the corporate servants in DC and elsewhere.  I sure hope that people wise up and vote blue in November so that we can move to amend the constitution to overturn Citizens United and related decisions that undermine our democracy.

    Climate change is going to be a rough ride.  We need educated public servants, not corporate servants, setting policy.

    •  Vote Blue (11+ / 0-)

      A new Democratic slogan:  Vote Blue Skies and Blue Water, Vote BLUE!

      Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

      by Helpless on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:25:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's great! (5+ / 0-)

        Or maybe:

        Clear Blue Skies? Clear Blue Water?
        It's Clear! Vote Blue!

        •  There will be a vote in the Senate on Sept 8 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          on a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.  Please let your senators know that you support this!

          Another great group working on CAFO issues, including the overuse of antibiotics in livestock which has led to the superbug (antibiotic resistant bacterial infections like MRSA's) is Food and Water Watch.  

          •  FWW is not a player on CAFO water pollution issues (0+ / 0-)

            at all.

            They don't get involved at all on Clean Water Act regulation of CAFO facilities.

            •  OK. I must have hallucinated that I was at their (0+ / 0-)

              event last week where we discussed this at length.

              LS, don't make statements of fact unless you have your facts straight.

              •  Show me one specific CAFO permit on which (0+ / 0-)

                they have filed comments.   Show me the federal regulations the group got enacted to control CAFO operations.  

                They are simply not involved in the action on the control of CAFO water pollution.  

                Just because they turn out some materials about antibiotic resistant bacteria does not mean that they are doing anything at all about these particular type of problems.   And the primary purpose with FWW's emphasis on antibiotic resistant bacteria is, again, far more to do with consumer issues with meat and food than anything relating to water pollution control and Great Lakes Water Quality.

                FWW are pretty much non-players also when it comes to regulation and enforcement of water pollution control requirements at municipal wastewater treatment plants as well.

                FWW is a consumer-oriented organization.  They are not a conservation stewardship organization because if they were, they would act organizationally in a completely different manner than they presently do.

                FWW does want to ban hydraulic fracturing, but nothing about hydraulic fracturing operations conducted in the Great Lakes states is or has been a threat to Great Lakes water quality.  

                While I was glad to see FWW involved as a consumer group in the Detroit water shutoff crisis, this group simply does not engage in water pollution control programming or any programmatic activity that is specifically directed to Great Lakes water quality.

                  •  That video does not have anything to do with (0+ / 0-)

                    actually achieving, or being responsible for, any water pollution control stewardship of any sort or any activity that would be stewardship of Great Lakes water quality.

                    Food & Water Watch is completely disengaged from these issues.

                    If you want examples of citizen nonprofit groups that are doing responsible programming on the Great Lakes and Great Lakes water pollution control, then the Alliance for the Great Lakes in Chicago, the National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Office in Ann Arbor, the Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper, Sierra Club Great Lakes Program, Healing Our Waters - Great Lakes Coalition, Environmental Law and Policy Center and the Natural Resource Defense Council Chicago/Great Lakes office are ones to recognize....

                    ....not Food and Water Watch.

                    •  Also worth mentioning on Great Lakes water quality (0+ / 0-)

                      are Indian Tribes, like the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa Indians, Keeweenau Bay Community and a number of others.

                      All of these Indian Tribes are far more involved with Great Lakes water quality stewardship and Great Lakes biological resource conservation than the nullity of what Food and Water Watch has accomplished, or been involved with, on Great Lakes Water Quality.

    •  Under Michael Brune at the Sierra Club, the large (0+ / 0-)

      amount of organizational work that was previously done under Carl Pope to address CAFO water pollution as programmatic Sierra Club activity has mostly been  eliminated.  

      Sierra Club no longer has CAFO issues at the center of its priorities at all, and SC as an organization isn't taking much leadership on CAFO water issues at this point.   Waterkeeper Alliance and NRDC is far more effective on CAFO water pollution issues at this point than is the national Sierra Club.

  •  Florida under Gov. Scott now green slime capital (3+ / 0-)

    Check out these photos and recent news from Teabagistan.

    "Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed." -- Vaclav Havel

    by greendem on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:11:13 PM PDT

  •  No thanks nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Kasich just named a new head of OH Dept of Health (8+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamott, psychprof, joynow, viral, Zwoof, cai, Desi, Tommy Aces

    In violation of Ohio law, he just filled the vacancy (had been open since February) with a political hack from the Ohio Turnpike Commission.

    I wrote a diary about it earlier here

    Ohio law requires the head of the Dept. of Health be a medical doctor or public health professional.  Kasich's new appointment, made just yesterday, is neither.  

    Kasich is trying to hide something.  Typical behavior for ODH - covering up the source of problems that harm Ohioans health.

    Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

    by Betty Pinson on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:19:37 PM PDT

    •  As info (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joynow, viral, Zwoof, Desi, Tommy Aces

      ODH is also responsible for testing lake, river, etc. water for pollutants.  One of their areas of responsibility is overseeing management of leaky sewers and sewage runoff.  Another is the investigation of health problems that develop in population clusters.   If people in the Toledo area start getting sick, ODH will send a guy from the Ohio Turnpike to manage the investigation.

      To cover his arse, Kasich has temporarily appointed a doctor from Ohio Medicaid as an interim assistant, but the guy in control of all investigations is a political crony.

      Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

      by Betty Pinson on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:29:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I would think there would be people using (0+ / 0-)

    this algae as a resource up river to produce biodiesel. In fact, why aren't the concentrated polluters like feedlots using their runoff rich in nitrogen and phosphorus grow algae onsite to produce biofuels for their own use? If the algae were being processed into fuel up river the excess nutrients wouldn't make their way into the Great Lakes.  

    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

    by RMForbes on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:35:24 PM PDT

    •  You said: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, Dr Arcadia, Tommy Aces
      I would think there would be people using
      this algae as a resource up river to produce biodiesel.
      The Wabash River is one of the largest tributaries of the Great Lakes and it is neither practical nor technically feasible to collect algae and phytoplankton out of surface water courses for the purposes of using what is collected as feedstock to a bio-diesel plant.
      In fact, why aren't the concentrated polluters like feedlots using their runoff rich in nitrogen and phosphorus grow algae onsite to produce biofuels for their own use?
      Again, this is not are talking about enormous volumes of water both running off each fields and running from field tiles as a result of incident precipitation.   And algae forms in receiving waters, not at fields edges in concentrated and tile flow from such fields.
      If the algae were being processed into fuel up river the excess nutrients wouldn't make their way into the Great Lakes.  
      The fundamental purpose of comprehensive nutrient management planning is to keep applied nutrients on the production fields and away from runoff, in order to ensure appropriate agricultural utilization.   If ag operators do a good job of nutrient planning and they follow that plan, and if they use field-specific best management practices, then the nutrient content of runoff would be significantly reduced.
      •  Not practical...maybe (0+ / 0-)

        But it would be profitable and would at least lessen the problem. If we attacked every problem with your pessimism none of our problems would be solved. It's quite easy to turn algae into biofuel, we should look at it as a resource and as part of a solution to nutrient runoff.

        If farmers, feedlots and sewage treatment plants were always using good management methods that weren't releasing excessive levels of nitrogen and phosphorus we wouldn't be having these problems. I would think this could create an opportunity for quite a few entrepreneurs.  

        Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

        by RMForbes on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 06:03:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  An operation has to be practical and technically (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          feasible before it can ever possibly be profitable.

          •  Collecting a free resource that most think (0+ / 0-)

            is a waste product and turning it into fuel would not take that much imagination. I'd bet many places would even be willing to ship the algae to a local processing plant or even pay just to get rid of it. Since algae floats near or on the surface of the water it would not be all that difficult to collect where the rivers widen and slow down, in lakes or in holding ponds. I don't see anything that would not be technically feasible.

            Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

            by RMForbes on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:14:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The field tiles drain into ditches (0+ / 0-)

              that were dug to drain the Great Black Swamp. It is feasible to collect the the water from roadside ditches in a holding area before it reaches the lake?

              A rising tide sinks all boats that are anchored to the bottom.

              by Zwoof on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:26:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't know, would it? (0+ / 0-)

                Were the drain ditches already being clogged with algae? The idea is to grow algae to remove the excess nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients from the runoff before it gets to the Great Lakes, it's not rocket science. In California they grow algae in holding ponds for biofuels as part of the sewage treatment system. It can be done.

                Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                by RMForbes on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 08:24:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Not practical (0+ / 0-)

                retention basins  can help settle suspended solids but microcystin are very small and won't settle in a clarifying lagoon and have to be fine-filtered.   Lagoons don't get that job done but enormous lagoons would be required to store stormwater volumes containing any nutrient runoffs.

                You can do this on the scale of the volume of water a municipal intake might bring in (couple million gallons per day), but never for the volume of the flow of a large river like the Maumee....which is also the large sediment transport river to the entire great lakes basin.

            •  While algae farming is quite possible as a matter (0+ / 0-)

              of technical feasibility, no such proposal is technically feasible as part of a large watercourse on which navigation operates and that would have to treat the entire flow of such a river in order to have any efficacy at controlling something like the Maumee Bay algae problem with vey, very fine green color bodies of small as to defeat any type of netting or trapping of such cyanobacteria.

      •  Are you thinking of the Maumee River? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The Wabash River starts in far northwest Ohio, but it flows into the Mississippi River, not the Great Lakes.

        The plural of anecdote is NOT data

        by Dr Arcadia on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 06:10:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Feedlots store runoff in lagoons, compost (0+ / 0-)

      the dry manure out of the lots and use that nitrogen to grow hay to feed back to the cattle.

      If trees gave off WIFi signals, we would probably plant so many trees, we would save the planet. Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe.

      by skohayes on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 05:29:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here in the Midwest the predominate pattern (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        of large dairy and beef cattle operations don't feature uncovered, large feedlot operations like you see in the plains states and Texas.   Most, but not all, large dairy cattle and beef cattle CAFO operations in the midwest feature large, covered barns and not open feedlots.

        The advantage of the barns over the feedlots is the major reduction in the volume of process wastewater that must be addressed and a significant increase in the aqueous nutrient concentrations of process wastewater that is stored in lagoons before land spreading operations.

        Large feedlots feedlots cause more nitrogen loss to the atmosphere than animal agriculture carried out in barns with process wastewater storage systems.

  •  Report is released (5+ / 0-)

    The report has been released. . .  Living in the affected area, I wish they would have been more forthcoming during the crisis about the results, but as of 4pm today when the Mayor and Council met, the preliminary results have been released.

    This is an issue that was bound to happen as the algae bloom has gotten larger each year.  Last year, a small township's water supply was shut down for a few days because of this.

    I hope the City of Toledo publishes their test findings daily in a public forum now.

    Meanwhile, our Governor has largely sidestepped the root of the causes, which is large-scale use of fertilizer and manure from factory farms.  They passed a bill this year that was watered down, voluntary requirements (isn't that an oxymoron) related to fertilizer, with language related to manure removed after the Farm Bureau complained.  

    Public policy is far behind science on this one, though science is also far behind where we need it to be.

  •  See this from the International (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, skohayes, viral

    Joint Commission and one of the officers .... Note, Jeff Kart is a well known (in Michigan) former Bay City Times newspaper reporter:

    The IJC report included numerous recommendations for agriculture to reduce the nutrient loading into Lake Erie watersheds (in Michigan — River Raisin, Bean/Tiffin, St. Joe of the Maumee).  In the full report linked from this site, note esp. the recommendation on p.9 for no winter application of manure.

    The Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force Report in 2013 made many of the same recommendations for agriculture to reduce Phosphorus, including (p. 68) no winter application of manure.

    Janet Kauffman

    On Aug 3, 2014, at 10:35 AM, Jeff Kart wrote:

    Posting on behalf of International Joint Commission

    Toledo water crisis: IJC Lake Erie report a template for solving toxic algal blooms that shut down region’s water system -

    Jeff Kart
    Website Writer/Manager (Contractor)
    International Joint Commission -
    Facebook internationaljointcommission
    Twitter @ijcsharedwaters

    •  The other problem with fall and winter application (0+ / 0-)

      of agricultural process wastewater is that the nitrogen being applied to the soil  (apart from winter cover crops) will not be utilized for several months until well into spring in the next growing season.   This means there is 6 months time before crop utilization can occur which means 6 months of time during which applied nitrogen can be converted to nitrate and then contribute to nitrate contamination of groundwater which is an endemic problem in many midwest farming areas.

      The timing of when you apply such process wastewater in relation to a growing crop is the key to controlling such nitrate contaminated groundwater.

      Low pressure center pivot irrigation systems offer the best possible opportunity for timing the application of wastewater to a growing crop in a manner that will significantly reduce potential for groundwater contamination.

      Such irrigation systems allow wastewater to be applied after the crop is already planted and growing when plant demand for nutrients is highest.

  •  Again our Great Lakes are in danger from (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viral, Desi

    EPA laws being laxed.  From Toledo to Monroe Mi. residents were educated on how it feels to not have fresh water, or no water.  While in Detroit this is still going on for thousands of people every day.  Our lakes are under siege from two Republican Governors who will push for privitization of our fresh water supply.  If this debacle doesn't open your eyes nothing will.  

    Change is a process, not an event. ~ Joellen Killion

    by sabathiel on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 05:20:51 PM PDT

  •  Heavy algae and phytoplankton (0+ / 0-)

    are visible in Western Lake Erie in this NASA MODIS
    plantform imagery from the NASA Terra satellite, earlier today:

    250 m resolution version, Lake Erie is int he center left sector not far from the top.

    Notice particularly intense algae from around the Huron River Mouth through to Maumee Bay and then East to Sandusky Bay (which spends a lot of time looking green like that).

    In this NASA Satellite Aqua Modis imagery, also taken today, Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay appears particularly intense with off-shore algae, although the image is broken up from side location distortion:

    Look on the extreme left center for Saginaw Bay

  •  Another good reason for a STRONG EPA. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  some water visuals (0+ / 0-)

    From Great Lake Information Network GLIN-ANNOUNCE


    Today's footage from near West Sister Island and just west of the Toledo Water intake crib (2 sites).  This is what our Lake water looks like today.  Student researchers from the University of Toledo's Lake Erie Center and the Department of Environmental Sciences (Ken Gibbons, Phoenix Golnick , and Rachael Johnson from the Bridgeman and Mayer labs) were out sampling on the Lake Erie Center's Mayflier boat.  



    Carol A. Stepien, Ph.D.

    Director of the Lake Erie Center
    & Distinguished University Professor of Ecology
    Department of Environmental Sciences

    The Lake Erie Center
    The University of Toledo
    6200 Bayshore Rd.
    Oregon, OH 43616  USA

    Secretary: 419 530-8360
    Office: 419 530-8362
    FAX: 419-530-8399

  •  I've got a nickel that says the glass of water ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I've got a nickel that says the glass of water he drank came out of a sealed plastic bottle.

  •  Why all the calls of "make test results public"? (0+ / 0-)

    Just how many people who aren't familiar with cyanobacterial toxins and the strategies for analyzing them would be able to correctly interpret the data if it was made available to them?  Do you know the accuracy of ELISA vs. LC/MS/MS (and they're quite different)?  Do you know that ELISA just measures microcystins as a whole while LC/MS/MS identifies all of the different types?  Do you know that there are 100+ different forms of microcystins and the toxicity of these different toxins differs significantly?  Could you list the most common forms and think to ask whether the analyses are distinguishing between microcystin-RR, microcystin-LR, and microcystin-LW?  What about microcystin-YR, -RR, -LA, and -LF?
    My point is this: having the results of an ELISA doesn't really give you enough information to be able to make an informed decision about how to protect the people around you.  In order to do that, all but an extremely small number of people have to rely on specialists who understand everything in the first paragraph of this post.  You have to trust the people who study this issue; the techniques that identify the toxins, the differences in toxicological potency of the common forms of the toxins, and the best way to reach a scientifically defensible course of action re: whether the water is safe to drink.  And to be able to safely trust these people implies that the elected politicians who oversee the Agencies they work in, have supplied them with enough resources to get the necessary work done.  And that an advanced education is made available to those who have the desire and aptitude to pursue such a path.  And all of this costs money - which is why we struggle with these events and continue to react to episodes like this, rather than anticipate and prepare for them.
    And how many of the people who want to see these tests will vote for Governors and members of State and National Congresses who have enough understanding of the importance of preparing for these issues to provide the necessary funds to do so?

  •  NASA Earth Observatory Covers the (0+ / 0-)

    Western Lake Erie algae problem:

  •  False alarm? (0+ / 0-)

    The executive summary is pretty hilarious.

    My translation is as follows:  

    "We're still working on how to explain exactly how we f@*@ed up and made 500,000 people worry without cause.  We'll get back to you on that, once this blows over and/or we can come up with an explanation that doesn't make us look like idiots.

    We kind of knew all along that there were inconsistencies in the data, and we spent the last 3 days getting a lot of other people to help confirm that that we, in fact, did f@@k up.  In the meantime, here is all the data we took.  See if you can make more sense of it than we did.

    But hey, on the bright side, we now know the right way to take water samples"

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site