Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Drinking Water


In 2014, Toledo, Ohio had to announce a ban on drinking water.  A massive toxic algae bloom on Lake Erie resulted in a tap water ban for over 400,000 people in Toledo for two days.  For decades our drinking water has been at risk across America, due to climate change, crumbling infrastructure, and lax environmental regulations. 

The consequences of drinking contaminated water could be dire, since bacteria in algae blooms can cause skin rashes, vomiting and liver damage.  Scientists have known for a long time, that a number of man made factors have been contributing to the outbreak of these algae blooms.

In 2011. Lake Erie saw its largest algae bloom in history over 1,900 square miles of the lake was contaminated with the toxic algae, and the situation is getting worse.  The blooms scientist saw in 2011 was two and half times worse than the blooms that were seen back in the 1960’s and 70’s.

After the algae blooms in the ’60s and ’70s, phosphorus was banned in detergents.  That curbed the blooms for awhile but they have resurfaced, and more rigorous regulation are needed. 

The main culprit is phosphorus runoff from farms using fertilizers, but the effects of climate change also plays a role, because rising temperatures and increased moisture during the summer has provided a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria.

Aging water treatment infrastructure are also be blamed.  Sludge from sewage processing plants, leaky septic tanks, and outdated storm water drains that flow directly into Lake Erie has provided food for the bacteria. 

Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency explained that toxic algae blooms are a major environmental problem in all 50 states.  The problem is that President Trump and many uninformed, anti-regulation, science denying Republican voters and politicians could care less about our environment. 

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