Image of an algal bloom in Lake Erie taken on Sept. 6.
A federal agency said today that the harmful algae blooms in western Lake Erie this summer were the worst so far in this century.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said today that the 2015 harmful algal bloom reached 10.5 on its severity index, which is based on the amount of biomass in the bloom. That compares with a level of 10 for 2011.
NOAA said that, fortunately, the center of the bloom moved to the center of the western lake’s central basin, missing the coastal areas, which would include Toledo water intake. Also two cold fronts in September helped break up the bloom early.
The algal bloom of 2014 overwhelmed Toledo’s water intake causing a nearly three-day-long do-not-drink advisory.
NOAA predicted an intense harmful algal bloom in the lake this year because of high rainfall that would lead to record discharge from the Maumee River, considered to be the source of nutrients from fertilizer and manure.
According to NOAA, on Aug. 5, “dense scum” covered up to 300 square miles of the western basin.