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Symposium Will Explore Algae Issues Affecting Indiana’s Waterways

Release Date: 
Jun 15 2010

Experts from Government, Business and Community Organizations Will Discuss How to Reduce Potentially Harmful Conditions in Indiana’s Reservoirs and Lakes

What:    Blue-Green Algal Blooms and Nutrients that Cause Them: Exploring Indiana’s Story

When:    June 17, 2010, 8:00am-5:00pm

Where:    The Rathskeller Restaurant, 401 E. Michigan Street, Indianapolis

Indianapolis, IN—On Thursday, June 17, the IUPUI Center for Earth and Environmental Science (CEES) and Veolia Water Indianapolis will host Blue-Green Algal Blooms and Nutrients that Cause Them: Exploring Indiana’s Story at the Rathskellar Restaurant in downtown Indianapolis. This one-day symposium will bring together elected officials, government agencies, corporations, nonprofits, and universities to explore the causes, impact, and solutions for the increasingly common occurrence of blue-green algae in Midwest lakes and reservoirs.

General Sessions Offer Comprehensive Overview of Blue-Green Algal Issues

The general-session presentations offer a comprehensive overview of blue-green algal bloom issues, including environmental factors, innovative research, policy implications, and outreach solutions.

“In recent years, concern regarding the production and occurrence of blue-green algal blooms has grown in Central Indiana and nationally,” says CEES director Lenore Tedesco. “The blue-green algae that we often see on reservoirs during the summer months doesn’t just give water an unappealing look and musty taste and odor, it can also release toxins that can sicken people and animals.”

Researchers throughout the Midwest have been gathering data about blue-green algal blooms, exploring factors that influence growth and the potential impact on health and the environment. The morning sessions provide a forum for these researchers to share their findings with concerned citizens, businesses, and government agencies so the community can better understand and address the issues.

While environmental factors such as water temperature and water movement contribute to the growth of algae, nutrients are the main driver – and the only one that we can control. The afternoon sessions delve into current efforts to improve water quality and examine programs that monitor algae growth and the health of watersheds. Speakers include representatives from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the Upper White River Watershed Alliance and the Tippecanoe Watershed Foundation.

“Blue-green algae is fueled by a wide variety of nutrients, including discharges from sewage treatment plants and runoff from farm fields, livestock farms and lawns treated with fertilizers,” explained Lyn Crighton, executive director of the Tippecanoe Watershed Foundation. “The simple truth is that it is much more cost-effective to protect the many benefits provided by healthy watersheds than it is to restore them once they become impaired.”

Expert Panelists Debate Ways to Limit Algae Growth in Indiana Waterways

The Symposium will conclude with a lively panel discussion, Approaches to Limiting Phosphorus in Indiana Waterways.  Panelists will include State Senator Beverly Gard and State Representative Dick Dodge along with representatives from government agencies, universities, nonprofits and businesses that have an impact on our waterways.

A 2007 study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found one of the toxins associated with algae present in 36 of 56 Indiana lakes. In November 2009, the state Legislature’s Environmental Quality Service Council recommended to direct the state’s environmental, health and natural resources departments to devise a strategy for monitoring algae levels.

“Taste and odor compounds produced by blue-green algae are one of the biggest treatment challenges for drinking water facilities in Indianapolis,” said David Gadis, president of Veolia Water Indianapolis, the contract operator of Indianapolis Water.  “Earlier this spring, Central Indiana experienced the wrath of Mother Nature when she unleashed high levels of algae, which surpassed current removal technologies---an impact felt by many drinking water customers. Helping to guide the stewardship of our water resources remains a critical activity for Veolia Water, which is why we’re committed to long-term global research and development on algae with CEES.” 

For a complete agenda and speaker and panelist biographies, visit the CEES website: http://www.cees.iupui.edu/Education/Workshops/index.htm

The Center for Earth and Environmental Science is a research and outreach center housed in the Department of Earth Science at IUPUI. CEES mission is to provide applied interdisciplinary environmental solutions and translate research into action while promoting environmental stewardship through education and public service programs. Applied research is important in bringing solutions to critical problems and gives CEES its uniqueness. CEES’ vision is to be an international leader providing environmental solutions to both existing and emerging water resource issues.

Veolia Water Indianapolis is the operator of Indianapolis Water, producing more than 140 million gallons of clean, fresh drinking water every day. Veolia has an innovative performance-based operating agreement with the city of Indianapolis Department of Waterworks. Through the partnership, the city and VWI work together in making investments in the waterworks infrastructure, technology, people and the community, while serving as a responsible steward of water resources.

Veolia Water North America is the leading provider of comprehensive water and wastewater partnership services to municipal and industrial customers in approximately 650 communities. Veolia Water, the water division of Veolia Environment, is the world leader in water and wastewater services. Specialized in outsourcing services for municipal authorities, as well as industrial and service companies, it is also one of the world's major designers of technological solutions and constructor of facilities needed in water and wastewater services. With 93,400 employees worldwide, Veolia Water provides water service to 80 million people and wastewater service to 59 million. Visit the company's Web sites at www.veolia.com and www.veoliawaterna.com.

The School of Science is committed to excellence in teaching, research, and service in the biological, physical, behavioral and mathematical sciences. The School is dedicated to being a leading resource for interdisciplinary research and science education in support of Indiana's effort to expand and diversify its economy. For more information go to http://science.iupui.edu