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Lake Erie algae legislation expected to pass in Ohio

Mark Brush
Michigan Radio

Ohio lawmakers are close to a compromise on legislation aimed to reduce farm runoff into Lake Erie and other Ohio waterways.

The goal is to stop the spread of the toxic algae that contaminated Toledo's drinking water supply last summer.

"I think this bill will make sure the nutrients won't get in the water system, and we'll have less algae blooms over time," said Ohio State Senator Bob Peterson who co-sponsored the bill.

Peterson said, "One piece of the bill is banning the spreading of manure and commercial fertilizer on frozen, snow-covered or saturated ground in the Western Lake Erie basin."  The legislation also provides for ending within five years the dumping into Lake Erie of dredged materials because they are thought to contribute to the growth of algae.

Peterson said the Ohio House and Senate are ironing out some differences on appropriate penalties.  He said legislators are trying to find a balance which will ensure Ohio agriculture's continued success and also will protect the state's water systems.

"I'm very optimistic that we're going to agree on wording between the House and the Senate, and we're going to get a bill passed-hopefully this week," said Peterson.

Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom