Survey could change how health department tells you about danger - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Survey could change how health department tells you about dangers in the water

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OREGON, OH (Toledo News Now) -

You may notice signs at some local beaches and state parks warning you not to go in the water.

You may have also noticed there's more green algae in the water right now than there was at this time last year.

"It's gradually getting greener. You can tell each time we come out here that it's a deeper green," said Damian Walczak, who visits Maumee Bay State Park. "It's very frustrating, we don't go swimming much."

Health leaders say that algae means there could be harmful toxins in the water as well. They say Lake Erie is not at an emergency level, but there is the potential for it to get there this year.

"This is only late July. There's a possibility that if this is a warm summer and there's more moisture and more runoff, that these can bloom more and become a real significant problem," said Lucas County Health Commissioner Dr. David Grossman.

Right now they have signs near the impacted areas warning people about the water conditions, but the Lucas County Health Department is trying to figure out what else they can do to keep people informed.

That's why representatives will be going door-to-door next week, asking people who live near impacted areas a series of questions.

It is all part of a research project both the county and state health departments are working on with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The groups are trying to gather information now on the public's current knowledge of algal blooms because they say this algae could get worse before it gets better.

"We really hope to use that information to create a plan (for) how to educate and how to deal with harmful algae blooms," said Dr. Grossman.

Health leaders will be out conducting that survey next Monday and Tuesday, August 4 and 5. Answers could change the way the health department works to keep the public informed.

Those who choose to go in the water when algae levels are too high can get a rash. If they inhale any of the water, it can cause nerve damage and, on rare occasions, be fatal. 

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