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Chemical Promotes Dangerous Algae Blooms
Wisconsin is not fully enforcing strict phosphorus limits adopted two years ago to reduce lake-algae blooms that make people sick. The state Legislature in 2010 approved DNR regulations intended to cut down on the amount of phosphorus running into waterways, where it causes algae to grow so thick that the water turns to green soup. The regulations are aimed at wastewater treatment plants, paper mills and factories – which are required to reapply for permits at five-year intervals.

Once in lakes and streams, phosphorus helps algae grow uncontrollably, robbing it of oxygen, harming fish and other plants and sometimes leaving those who come in contact with it ill. At its worst, cyanobacteria – the organisms that feed on phosphorus and are commonly known as blue-green algae – can sicken humans causing respiratory problems, skin rashes and cold or flu-like symptoms.

 
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