CLEVELAND — Visitors at several Ohio beaches along Lake Erie are being warned that they might want to avoid the water because of harmful bacteria produced by potentially toxic blue-green algae.
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer in Cleveland reported officials posted swimming advisories in anticipation of unsafe bacteria levels after storms this week led to sewage overflows in the lake. The sewage can provide the phosphorus that feeds the algae.
Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, are common in most lakes but grow thick in sun-warmed water that contains phosphorus. The algae produce bacteria that can kill animals and sicken humans.
The director of the Ohio Sea Grant office at Ohio State University said algae blooms in eastern Lake Erie are unusual, while blooms in the western basin are typical and may last months.