Ohio EPA appoints official to manage Lake Erie water quality

FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2014, file photo, the City of Toledo water intake crib is surrounded by algae in Lake Erie, about 2.5 miles off the shore of Curtice, Ohio. Toledo has detected the first signs in Lake Erie of the dangerous toxin that resulted in a water crisis last year that left 400,000 people in northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan without safe tap water for two days announced Monday, July 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)
(AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) – Ohio’s environmental chief is creating a new team to oversee water quality issues in Lake Erie.

State Environmental Protection Agency Director Craig Butler has appointed Karl Gebhardt, the Ohio EPA’s deputy director for water resources, to focus on Lake Erie water issues.

One of the main tasks will be managing a plan aimed at cracking down on phosphorus runoff that’s blamed for a rash of harmful algae blooms on the lake.

Ohio, Michigan and Ontario, Canada, said earlier this summer that they will cut the amount of phosphorus flowing into western Lake Erie by 40 percent within 10 years.

Gebhardt also will be in charge of figuring out what to do with sediment dredged out of harbors along the lake instead of dumping it in the water.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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