Who's To Blame For Toxic Algae?

By Emily Dwire

August 4, 2014 Updated Aug 4, 2014 at 11:40 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21ALIVE) - Who is to blame for the toxic algae that made its way to Lake Erie that left thousands without water for days? Some say the starting point could be in Northeast Indiana.

Save the Maumee Grassroots Organization is a local group who raises awareness about the rivers and aims to preserve, protect and enhance them.

Vice-President of the group, Abigail King, says everything between Fort Wayne and Defiance, Ohio drains into the Maumee River, which then makes its way into Lake Erie. She says about 80% of all the drainage is from pesticides that farmers use on their crops, as well as chemical sprays people use on their lawn to keep it looking pristine.

King says the Maumee River is the largest contributing watershed to the Great Lakes in the United States, and Fort Wayne sits at the confluence. So if the water is not completely clean here at the starting point, that’s a big problem.

“The maumee starts right here, and it's picking up everything along the way. When we're pulling our drinking water out of that St. Joe and it's considered healthy, and then we send it off to the other city, county or state downstream and suddenly it's not healthy. So what happened from the St. Joe to the Maumee?” King said.

King says it’s up to every person to hold our government accountable for protecting us and our surface water which includes lakes, streams, and rivers alike.

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