Maybe It’s Not a Paint Spill on the Water | News
CLERMONT COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - If you plan to beat the heat by cooling off in a lake or stream this holiday week, a word of caution about HAB’s. HAB’s are Harmful Algal Blooms, or blue-green algae, a large growth of bacteria that can produce toxins.
“We are seeing an increase in blue-green algae in waterways all across the state, including here in Clermont County,” said Hannah Gonzalez with the Clermont Office of Environmental Quality.
“If you touch HAB’s, swallow water with HAB toxins, or even breathe in water droplets, you could develop a rash or stomach ache, and feel light-headed. HAB’s can be toxic to pets and livestock as well.”
This summer, parks are posting advisories, if HAB’s are found. “The blooms look like spilled paint, and can resemble a film or puff balls on the surface of the water,” said Gonzalez. “While most HAB’s are blue-green in color, they can also be brown, black, white, purple, red and even black.” She said that excess nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen contribute to the problem. “We’re finding the HAB’s are more tolerant than true green algae of herbicides,” added Gonzalez. The Ohio Department of Health reports that preventing surface runoff from agriculture and livestock areas, and even discouraging Canada geese from moving into a waterway, can help reduce the risk of developing the potentially dangerous algal blooms.
“Not all algal blooms are HAB’s,” said Gonzalez. “Some small and harmless aquatic plants can contribute to surface scum on water, but they are actually harmless duckweed.” If you spot a possible HAB, report it to the Ohio Department of Health at www.odh.ohio.gov or the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency at www.edp.ohio.gov/dsw or call 1-614-644-2001.
For more information about HAB’s, visit the website www.OhioAlgaeInfo.com.