Pelee Island Mayor Hopes Algae Bloom Predictions Are Wrong

The mayor on Pelee Island is hoping the predictions for a severe algae bloom in western Lake Erie are wrong.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is expecting this year's algae bloom to be much larger than average and almost the size of the bloom in 2014 that shut down drinking water systems on Pelee Island.

"The variables, and there are many of them, are lining up with their predictions so it wouldn't surprise me if it happens," says Pelee Island Mayor Rick Masse.

He says about $2-million has been invested to upgrade the island's water treatment system since 2014 but he says the concern is with private wells that draw directly from the lake and beach closures which affect tourism.

"My hope is that with the lake level being as high as it is and with the water temperature in the lake being a little bit cooler than normal, my hope is that it is not as severe as it is predicting."

He says tourism dried up for four weeks back in 2014 because of severe algae blooms which resulted in the island losing about $500,000 a week in lost tourism dollars.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is basing the prediction on factors that include the amount of rain that's fallen to send phosphorus from area farms into the waterway.