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Water-Related News

App will show level of algae in water

WASHINGTON — The same technology that allows you to consult your phone to figure out when a big storm is moving in could soon help you decide the best places to fish and swim.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is using satellite technology for an app it’s developing that’s aimed at helping both water-quality managers and, eventually, the public, determine the level of toxic algae in their water sources.

They’re in the process now of beta-testing the app with staff at the EPA. The next step will be to send it to designated water-quality managers in Ohio and Florida to have them test it for any bugs, said Blake Schaeffer, an assistant lab director for the National Exposure Research Lab at the EPA.

It’s technology spawned by last summer’s issues in Lake Erie. For more than two days in August, Toledo residents were barred from drinking tap water because of a toxic algae contamination.

Schaeffer said while satellite data can help people determine the safety of their water, that information is “not accessible to people who need to make decisions like water quality managers."