EPA plan seeks cuts in phosphorus pollution that causes algae masses in Lake Erie
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency called for stepped-up efforts Wednesday to reduce nutrient pollution that contributes to algae blooms in Lake Erie but recommended no new federal regulations to accomplish the task.
A plan released by EPA's Chicago-based Region 5 office sets targets for reducing phosphorus that feeds giant algae masses that in the past decade have caused fish kills and beach closures on the shallowest of the Great Lakes, harming tourism and threatening drinking water. A 2014 bloom settled over the drinking water intake pipe for Toledo, Ohio, contaminating the municipal supply for more than 400,000 people.
But the strategy relies largely on existing state and local programs and voluntary actions by the region's farms to prevent phosphorus-laden fertilizers, manure and sewage from flowing into waterways, particularly in a dissolved form that creates toxins. It acknowledges some tougher rules might be needed but leaves those decisions to the states.
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