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State Declares Portion Of Lake Erie Impaired, Announces New Proposals To Fight Toxic Algae

The Ohio Environmental Protection said this week that for the first time it's declaring western Lake Erie impaired by toxic algae that has fouled drinking water in recent years. 

This week's announcement comes amid a federal lawsuit by several environmental groups hoping to pave the way for increased pollution regulations. Agency director Craig Butler says he doesn't expect the federal government to order any new rules because the state already has an approved plan in place. The Kaisich administration on Friday came out with new proposals to combat toxic algae in Lake Erie. The biggest change being offered requires some farmers to reduce the amount of fertilizer and manure that flows into streams and ends up in Lake Erie. The proposals will need to be approved by state lawmakers. Environmental groups say the state needs to go beyond voluntary efforts and force farmers to do more. It's not known how many farms the changes will impact. Research shows phosphorous in fertilizers washing into Lake Erie are the biggest source of the lake's algae blooms.

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