Cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae, grow rapidly when water is contaminated with phosphorus and nitrogen – common components of agricultural run-off. When an overgrowth of algae released harmful chemicals into Lake Erie in the summer of 2013, over 400,000 residents of Toledo, Ohio lost their main source of water.
In response to the incident, Sponsoring Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) introduced this bill, proposing to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act. If passed, the EPA would have 90 days to develop a plan to manage the risks associated with algal toxins. The EPA would be required to provide a list of algal toxins that present risks to human health, summaries of those effects, and guidelines for monitoring toxins.
At the end of the 90-day period, the EPA would be expected to submit a report to Congress, including findings and recommendations for removing algal toxins from contaminated drinking water.