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 Ohio’s Love Canal: Toxic Pol­lu­tion Dump­ing on a Scale of BP-Gulf Spill

By David Michael


Human ill­nesses and ani­mal deaths have occurred recently from neu­ro­tox­ins secreted by a heavy slime of blue and green algae float­ing on Ohio’s largest lake—Grand Lake St. Mary’s (Grand Lake) in Auglaize County. This is a lake that has been dete­ri­o­rat­ing for decades, but espe­cially so in the past 10 years as fac­tory farms have sprung up all over the area, and more are being built.

A high con­cen­tra­tion of fac­tory farms and the appli­ca­tion of com­posted manure from CAFO (con­fined ani­mal feed­ing oper­a­tions) manure and sewage treat­ment sludge (huma­nure, now called biosolids—a mix­ture of con­cen­trated human excre­ment and indus­trial dis­charges) is spread­ing toxic and infec­tious sub­stances on farm­lands close by and in the water­shed.  CAFOs in the water­shed area account for 3 mil­lion chick­ens; while sewage sludge spread­ing is per­mit­ted on 8800 Ohio farmlands—several close to the edge of Grand Lake.

Pol­lu­tants dis­charg­ing into the lake also include fer­til­izer runoff (phos­pho­rus, potas­sium and nitro­gen (PKN) as well as some pes­ti­cides and herbicides—as is com­monly known. But there is far more to the story, includ­ing heavy met­als (like lead, arsenic and chromium), phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, neu­ro­tox­ins, cancer-causers, viruses, bacteria—and just about every known chem­i­cal (60,000 some) known to man and being placed on the farmlands.

EPA and state offi­cials know about this—as does USDA, and their part­ners in the big food and big agri­cul­ture cor­po­ra­tions. Yet the smaller farm­ers are being accused for caus­ing the mess, and home­own­ers too—while the CAFOs and spread­ing of sludge are being expanded rapidly though state and fed­er­ally funded “green” pro­grams and con­tracted out to a few individuals.

This and other sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions occur­ring all around the US are com­ing to a head and, in sum, may be a far greater impact than the BP Gulf oil spill for sev­eral rea­sons.  BP was an acci­dent, Grand Lake is com­pletely pre­dictable and inex­cus­able: the State of Ohio should have known bet­ter. BP sap­pears to have been absorbed and evap­o­rated by nat­u­rally means and the response effort.  Grand Lake and other waters are wors­en­ing. BP was nat­ural, light oil crude but the pol­lu­tant inflows into Grand Lake are oxygen-feeding phos­phates from fer­til­iz­ers and runoff and most likely thou­sands of chem­i­cals and bio­log­i­cal agents.  Although the jury is still out, the BP spill appears to have resolved itself, Grand Lake will take years to stop the inflow and reverse the damage.  The pol­luted farm­lands may never be recov­ered with­out being excavated.

This news video on the sit­u­a­tion does not fea­ture a CAFO but rather a small 250-head farm using a nat­ural treat­ment sys­tem as an exam­ple of the prob­lem, rather than a super­farm. The big farms have gates and secu­rity procedures. Go to: Whole Food USA website: