Newsweek

Don't Drink the Pond Scum

Most sources of drinking water in the U.S. are vulnerable to contamination from toxic forms of algae, and climate change might be increasing the risk.
Boats go through an algae bloom on Lake Erie near Toledo, Ohio.
HOR_Algae_01_DH4TJ2 Source: Aurora Photos/Alamy

The swimmers and kayakers of Oregon are no strangers to algae. In recent years, warnings of infestations in ponds and lakes have become routine. When an early-summer algal bloom developed on Detroit Lake near Salem this May, state and city officials knew exactly what tests to run and advisories to issue.

But city leaders hadn’t anticipated a threat to drinking water. Detroit Lake drains into the North Santiam River, and from there, water runs into the municipal system. On May 31, a few days after the algae was first detected in the system, Salem toxicologists found potentially deadly toxins in the water supply. That same day, the city warned its

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Newsweek

Newsweek12 min readTech
Russia May Have Already Hacked the 2018 Midterms
It's possible the Russians perfected their attacks on electronic voting machines in the 2016 elections without tipping their hand.
Newsweek6 min read
Director Sacha Gervasi on HBO's 'My Dinner With Hervé'
The movie, starring Peter Dinklage, depicts the rollicking—and tragic—life of the "Fantasy Island" sidekick.
Newsweek15 min read
Newsweek's 1991 Anita Hill Cover Story
On September 27, Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding her sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. It was eerily familiar, as if no time had passed between 2018 and 1991, whe