Blue-green algae contaminate San Francisco water

2 November 2011


Photo: Bill Harding

San Francisco water has seen a spike in blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria) due to an algae bloom in the Calaveras reservoir.

The algae is highly common (present in nearly every water source) and tends to multiply in warmer weather. But at high levels, it can cause rashes and allergic reactions, and, at very high levels, can cause serious illness or death. Fortunately, according to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the current level in San Francisco water is not enough to harm anyone, but is enough to lend a foul taste and smell to your evening tea.

This is NOT the way to manage blue-green algae (have pity on this guy!)

In Michigan,

state environmental regulators say cleanup progress has been made at two sites on a decades-old list of the most heavily polluted locations around the Great Lakes. The U.S. and Canada designated 43 toxic hot spots in the region in the late 1980s. Among them are Muskegon Lake and the Upper Peninsula’s Deer Lake.  Among the problems that put Deer Lake on the list were deformities or reproductive problems for wildlife. Another was excessive algae.  Deer Lake is one of Michigan’s Areas of Concern, sites along the Great Lakes experiencing severe environmental degradation primarily from historic pollution. Of the 40 current Great Lakes AOCs, 14 are located in Michigan. They include rivers, lakes, and bays located on the Great Lakes.  Remedial actions and environmental assessments in the Deer Lake area over the past 15 years, including upgrades at the wastewater treatment plant and documentation of bald eagle recovery in the area, have allowed the DEQ to remove the Deer Lake “Eutrophication or Undesirable Algae” Beneficial Use Impairment and “Bird or Animal Deformities or Reproduction Problems” BUI.

Farmers and other key stakeholders successfully reduced total phosphorus going into Lake Erie over the past 50 years, but must revaluate nutrient management practices to more effectively manage dissolved phosphorus in those same bodies of water, according to one Ohio State University Extension expert.  The water quality issue at hand is no longer total phosphorus, but the dissolved form. Studies have shown that the amount of dissolved phosphorus has increased significantly, leading to a number of concerns related to the health and ecosystems of the lakes affected.

Taiwan’s wetland parks:

There are over 900 hectares of wetland in Kaohsiung City, including national wetlands, nine local wetlands and six others each having their own characteristics and diverse eco-systems.  Dashu Old Railway Bridge Wetland Park then became the biggest men-made wetland park in Taiwan and a dynamic attraction. The 120 hectares of wetland now include 10 water purification ponds. These ponds are kept particularly clean and a great location to watch the sunset reflect off their sparkling waters.

Taiwan Power Commpany’s Singda Thermal Power Plant forms the backdrop of Yongan Wetland.   Taiwan Power Company filled the ditches with salt water, which subsequently became a haven for wild birds. Yongan is now well known for its wild birds and is currently habitat to approximately 110 migratory species that make the wetlands their habitat. Out of the 60 known types of mangroves, Yongan Wetland has two-Lumnitzera racemosa and black mangroves.

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