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Water utility reassures public over algae in Cape Fear River

August 12, 2014
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Potentially toxic blue-green algae has been found in the Cape Fear River. The same contamination in Lake Erie last week led to a shutdown of the public water system in Toledo, Ohio, but local water officials in Wilmington, North Carolina, have moved to reassure the public that there is no cause for concern in this case.

Mike McGill, spokesman for the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA), explained that the utility's water treatment plant has an advanced filter system.

"We use ozone and biologically active carbon filters to treat the water and that does the trick on the algae," he said.

As a result, CFPUA has not experienced any water quality issues related to algae blooms. The utility will continue to monitor the situation, McGill added.

Meanwhile, Glenn Walker, water resources superintendent for Brunswick County Utilities, said that he monitors the river and believes there is no threat of a bloom at the moment. He pointed out that recent heavy rainfall in the area has increased flow in the river, which lowers the chances of algae blooms forming.

More than 400,000 residents in northwestern Ohio and southwestern Michigan were unable to use their tap water last weekend after tests at a treatment plant showed that microcystin levels were above the standard for consumption. The contamination was blamed on algae bloom close to where the water supply is drawn from Lake Erie.

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