Straight from the Tap

Still No Local Concerns Despite Recent News About Algal Blooms


In light of recent satellite imagery and model predictions, as well as shoreline detects by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD), Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) continue to make the news in communities across Lake Erie. Despite this news, your Cleveland Water is still safe, quality water that you can enjoy straight from your tap.

Cleveland Water has been monitoring for algal toxins in our source water for several years. To date, we have never had a detection at any of our four plants. However, with the recent news, we have accelerated our monitoring schedule to be sure we continue to provide you with a safe, reliable supply of quality water. We have sampled three times this week at each of our four plants, and have yet to see any measured detections of algal toxins in our raw water. In addition, we continue to monitor numerous raw water characteristics that are used as predictors of algal blooms and none indicate algal blooms are influencing our raw water. As a result, we have seen no effect on the water we deliver to you and no cause for concern – your water is safe to drink and use as normal.

Cleveland Water’s intake locations, and the depths of our intakes, are an advantage for avoiding algal blooms and the toxins they may produce. Since our intakes (the location at which we actually draw water in from Lake Erie) are much deeper – 30 to 40 feet - than other area water plants, and much farther – between three and four miles - from shore, the influence of HABs is significantly reduced. The above mentioned detects by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, were found in samples near the shoreline where algae may be concentrated along the surface and thrives in warmer, shallower water. Cleveland Water also has four interconnected treatment plants. In the unlikely event a problem is detected at one plant, production can be shifted to the other plants without disrupting service.

Cleveland Water proactively ramped up its dosage of powder activated carbon during treatment several weeks ago, in anticipation of possible algae issues. However, should we ever detect an algal toxin in our raw water, we are prepared to ensure you will still have access to safe, quality water from your tap. We aggressively monitor and have numerous treatment options available including powder activated carbon, aluminum sulfate, and chlorine. As such, we can react very quickly to changes in Lake Erie adjusting treatment as needed almost instantaneously.

At this time, we are confident our treatment is more than adequate to address the current algal bloom off the Lorain-Cuyahoga-Lake County shoreline.  However, the satellite imagery shows this algal bloom in the Central Basin is weakening and dying off. Weather conditions this weekend will likely cause the bloom to continue to weaken. This summer has been one of the worst in terms of algae blooms on Lake Erie. In spite of this, there has yet to be a single water use advisory issued by any Lake Erie drinking water plant in Ohio, proving the strength and viability of modern testing and treatment by area water utilities.

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