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EPA official: Bay of Green Bay could develop similar algae problems as Toledo

GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The EPA's regional leader says the Bay of Green Bay could develop the same type of algae that caused Toledo Ohio's water to be undrinkable for several days.

During a visit to Milwaukee, EPA Midwest administrator Susan Hedman said Green Bay has significant blooms which are ripe for the development of blue-green algae and other types.

Phosphorus runoff from farms appeared to feeding blue-green algae that's related to a toxin in the Toledo area's water supplies for 400,000 people.

Hedman said federal funds are being spent on the problem in a number of places, including the Bay of Green Bay.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes praises the EPA's efforts there -- as well as the DNR's effort to keep phosphorus in check elsewhere in Wisconsin. However, Lyman Welch of the Alliance tells Wisconsin Public Radio that voluntary measures may no longer be enough -- and it's time to address the entire watershed and address all phosphorus pollution sources.

The state approved standards to reduce phosphorus levels in 2010. In the last legislative session, Republicans gave businesses and communities up to 20 years to comply, after some said it cost them too much to do so now.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)