Study Finds Clear Lakes Can Be Among the Most Polluted

In this Aug. 3, 2014 file photo, a sample glass of Lake Erie water is photographed near the City of Toledo water intake crib on Lake Erie Photo: AP/ Haraz N. Ghanbari, File
In this Aug. 3, 2014 file photo, a sample glass of Lake Erie water is photographed near the City of Toledo water intake crib on Lake Erie

October 11, 2017 07:28 AM

A new study says appearances can be deceptive - clear lakes can be among the most polluted.

Scientists have long known fertilizer runoff from farm fields can fuel excessive algae growth, turning lakes the color of pea soup.

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But a study of 139 Iowa lakes by the University of Minnesota Duluth and Minnesota Sea Grant finds that when lakes reach extremely high concentrations of nutrients, the water can be surprisingly clear. They found high levels of phosphorous and even higher levels of nitrogen in some.

RELATED: Robotic Underwater Lab Helps Track Lake Erie Water Toxins

They concluded that extreme nutrient levels killed the algae in the lakes, similar to how too much fertilizer applied on land can kill plants.
    
Lead author Chris Filstrup tells Minnesota Public Radio it shows the need to measure nitrogen and phosphorous, not just water clarity.

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The Associated Press

(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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