Lake & Water Quality

Prevent Algae Blooms in Your Lake

Preventing phosphorus contamination starts in your kitchen, but it doesn't end there
By Cindy Hagley and Sharon Moen
Published: May 1, 2012
prevent lake algae blooms
ALGAL SOUP – Nearshore waters of Lake Erie reveal the risks of too much phosphorus.
Photo by Ohio Sea Grant
Here’s a stumper: What could squeaky-clean dishes and shockingly green lakes have in common? If you answered “phosphorus,” congratulations! Phosphorus has noteworthy connections to both dishwasher detergents and excessive algae growth. Though essential for life, too much phosphorus in lakes and streams stimulates an overabundance of algae and often a shift to more noxious types. In detergents, it binds with minerals, allowing for more effective washing. And the phosphorous in detergents is the same phosphorus that has contributed to the greening of North America’s waters. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent too much phosphorus from leeching into your lake.
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