Sewage overflow during Monday storms can intensify algae problem - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Sewage overflow during Monday storms can intensify algae problem

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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

The heavy rain received Monday may intensify the algal bloom in Lake Erie.

The storm lasted hours Monday and several inches of rain fell in the Toledo area. It proved to be too much for the sewer and storm water system to handle. When that happens, more than a dozen combined sewage overflows on the Maumee River open and dump the sewage and storm water into the river.

"A gentle rain would have been great, because it has been very dry, but the downpour like we had creates sewage overflows," explained Lake Erie Waterkeeper Sandy Bihn.

In Toledo, millions of gallons of raw sewage were dumped into the Maumee and will eventually make it into Lake Erie. It happens because the city runs out of space to hold the sewage when the system is taking in so much rain water.

The sewage is dumped into the river to prevent it from going back into residents' basements, but the river isn't a great alternative.

"It makes sense that we should not want sewage in the water that we drink," Bihn said. "And actually, sewage fuels algae blooms because it has phosphate within that sewage. That is the culprit that creates the blooms."

The Toledo Waterways Initiative is aimed to eliminate the sewage overflows over the next several years. 

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