Commonwealth Games triathlon may need a new lake

7 August 2012

Concerns over the risks posed by toxic algal blooms in Strathclyde Loch, Glasgow’s proposed venue for the triathlon swim for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, may cause the organizers to have to look for a less-polluted body of water.  As a first attempt they plan to throw $234000 at the problem.  This artificial lake has a recent history of having to cancel swim events.

Runoff from animal paddocks is a major source of stream pollution (Photo: Bill Harding)

Algal blooms in lakes and rivers are usually fuelled by the presence of excess nutrients – originating from agriculture or wastewater effluents.  In the US, their Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is under fire for ineffective control of runoff from livestock farms.  Anyone who has seen animal paddocks close to streams will be under no illusion as to how much faecal waste, loaded with nutrients and other nasties, can end up in our waterways.

Many will be aware of the very serious drought in the US – an event that is having international implications in terms of food supply and other issues.  This is already resulting in increased levels of toxicosis from various sources, including concerns about an increase in toxic algal blooms,  in Iowa.

Kansas still has about 12 lakes under algal warnings, while Marylands Wedge Pond (Winchester) remains closed.  Lake Champlain still has its algal bloom as well.

Algal bloom at Alberta’s ThunderLake (Source: The Barrhead Advertiser)

Further north in Canada, a warning has been issued for Alberta’s Thunder Lake.







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