By JOHN FLESHER
AP Environmental Writer
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Three states are receiving a combined $8.6 million in federal grants for programs aimed at reducing phosphorus runoff that causes harmful algae blooms in western Lake Erie, which led officials to order about 400,000 people not to drink tap water for two days in August.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is awarding the money to Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. Regional director Susan Hedman said Monday that the grants will provide technical assistance to farmers and improve measurement of phosphorus loads in Lake Erie tributaries.
According to the EPA, more federal money will be announced soon.
Lake Erie has a worsening problem with toxic bacteria commonly known as blue-green algae, which can kill animals and cause liver damage in humans. A severe outbreak prompted the do-not-drink orders in Toledo, Ohio, and southeastern Michigan.