Should you be concerned about toxic algae in the Ohio River? - News, Weather & Sports

Should you be concerned about toxic algae in the Ohio River?

Kelley Dearing Smith (Source: WAVE 3 News) Kelley Dearing Smith (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Roger Tucker (Source: WAVE 3 News) Roger Tucker (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - On the banks of the Ohio River 75 billion gallons of water flows by every day.

"An advantage to the Ohio River is this constant flow rate," said Louisville Water Company spokeswoman Kelley Dearing Smith.

That rate of flow puts Metro Louisville at a lower risk of health problems faced from dangerous algae blooms like those found this week in Toledo, Ohio.

"Every day before the drinking water leaves the plant we're doing up to 200 science experiments," said Dearing Smith.

[RELATED STORY: Questions and answers about Lake Erie toxic algae]

According to the Kentucky Division of Water and Army Corp engineers, potential toxic blooms of blue algae have popped up in several Kentucky lakes this summer. Dearing Smith said algae looks for areas that are warm, sunny and clear.

That perfect mix caused a big problem in Northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan.

[RELATED STORY: Toxic algae returns to some Kentucky lakes

Dearing Smith said, "Algae is living organism it's in a pond maybe in your backyard in your yard or lake this particular type of algae is not a concern for Louisville Water Customers."

So how concerned should we be when taking a sip from the tap at home?

"We check our river for algae during this time of year almost daily," said Louisville Water Company Algae scientist Roger Tucker. "Mostly all we've been seeing lately is some dirt and sediments we haven't had much of an algae issue at all this year."

Small amounts of algae are not uncommon in water - it's natural, but one step the Louisville Water Company takes to make sure you have clean water is to pump it out from the bottom of the river away from what floats to the surface.

"Drinking water is a science and it's a manufactured product and you just can't assume that the source water we get today in the Ohio River will be the same that it is tomorrow,” Dearing Smith said.

The Louisville Water Company said they haven't seen the Ohio River as clean as it is currently in 40 years.

Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

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