August 06, 2014 2:13 PM
This week 400,000 people in Toledo, Ohio, could not drink the water. The city’s water supply was polluted with a toxin linked to the overgrowth of algae. A pea green scum settled over the city’s water intake pipes. For 72 hours the residents relied on handouts of bottled water, which one woman said was stressful. “I have four children and dogs at home," she said, as she picked up free water. “I wanted to make sure we had enough water to brush our teeth and be able to drink it.”
因 藻類(algae)過度增生而產生的有毒物質污染了供水系統(water supply)，美國俄亥俄州托雷多市(Toledo, Ohio)本周有四十萬人無水飲用。青豆色(pea green)的殘渣(scum)沉積在入水口的管道。已有72小時的時間，當地居民生活必須依賴瓶裝水的配給(handout)。一位正領取免費水的女性表示，她感到很緊迫(stressful)：「我家中有四個小孩，還養狗，我必須確保我有足夠的水能刷牙和飲用。」
Toledo gets its water from Lake Erie, which is the source of fresh water for 11 million people in the American Midwest.
Lake Erie is by no means unique. Algal overload is common in waterways worldwide caused by fertilizer runoff and poor sewage management. Excessive algae deplete oxygen in the water and kill fish says Laura Johnson, a research scientist at the National Center for Water Quality at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio.
這次受藻類影響的伊利湖(Lake Erie)並不是(by no means)個案。水道中的藻類生長過量(overload)是全球性的問題，主因是肥料徑流(runoff)與欠佳的汙水處理(sewage management)。藻類過多會耗盡(deplete)水中的氧氣，讓魚兒死亡。
“It also becomes a problem when the type of algae that are growing is a cyanobacteria that can produce toxins," she said. "And when that happens then we have issues, because then those toxins can be in places like our drinking water, or we can get in contact with it if we’re trying to swim there.”
一位研究人員表示：「藍綠藻(cyanobacteria)的問題是它會產生有毒物質。如果藍綠藻大量增生的話，我們就遇到大麻煩了(we have issues)，因為這些有毒物質可能會進入我們的飲用水(drinking water)，在那游泳也會接觸到(get in contact with)毒素。」
Toxins can damage the liver and nervous system. Global warming is making the problem worse. Changing weather patterns produce stronger, more intense winds and storms which move more nutrients off the land. Johnson says in Ohio the algal season is a long one.
“The bloom that’s been happening most recently, I mean it’s just started. That’s part of the reason it’s so scary for Toledo right now is because this is the very beginning of the season," she said. "Most of the bloom occurs usually, and gets the largest, in September and October.”
Satellites track algae outbreaks
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tracks the bloom from space and uses the satellite data to track the bloom and estimate their concentration, says NOAA oceanographer Richard Stumpf. “We can’t tell you if it’s toxic, but we can tell you if it’s there and how much there is.”
This helps alert scientists and public officials to take action. Stumpf says to better manage the problem NOAA is also gathering data on the phosphorous that drives the bloom.
“It’s only the spring phosphorous that creates the bloom in the summer," he said. "Knowing that means that you can now create a strategy for how do you modify fertilizing practices, how do you modify cultivating practices so that the phosphorous stays on the fields, so it stays there and doesn’t run into the rivers and then into the lake.”
Keep nutrients on land
Laura Johnson agrees that the long-term goal must be to keep nutrients on the land. She calls for continued monitoring of farmers' land and water quality. “So that if for some reason a practice is not working as well as we think it should be, then we can change what we are doing and what we are recommending to farmers.”
Advocates for clean water want stiffer controls and greater cash incentives to encourage farmers to adopt best agricultural practices. Farmers balk at tighter regulations and recently saw a reduction in federal funds to address the issue. As the debate continues, one thing is certain. The algal problem is not going away any time soon.
乾淨用水的倡議者希望有更強硬的控制手段和金錢誘因(incentive)來鼓勵農夫採用最佳的農作方式。但農民們並不樂見(balk at . . .)更嚴格的規範，而近來投入這個問題的聯邦經費也已減少。不同看法的辯論仍會持續，但唯有一件事能確定：藻類問題在短期內還不會落幕(the problem is not going away)。
algae (n) 水藻，海藻XXalgal (a) 藻類的
scum (n) 殘渣；浮垢
handout (n) 分配，配發XXXXX*這個字很常見的意思是老師在教室裡發的「講義」，其語意來自於動詞片語 hand out (發送)，例句：He was handing out leaflets to members of the audience. (他把傳單分給聽眾們。)
by no means (prep phr) 絕非；一點都不
runoff (n) 徑流xxxxxxxxsewage (n) 污水;污穢物
deplete (v) 耗盡xxxxxxxnutrient (n) 營養物
bloom (n) (花朵)盛開狀態；大量的出現 XXXXX*詞條algal bloom(或algae bloom)「藻華」，指藻類快速而過度增生的現象，可看Wikipedia解釋
concentration (n) 濃度 xincentive (n) 獎勵xxxxbalk at (v phr) 對. . .畏怯，止步
Check your vocabulary!
Fill in the blanks with a word or phrase from the list above. Make necessary changes. After you finish, select the text below to reveal the hidden answers.
1. Salmon populations have been severely depleted.
2. The apple trees are in full bloom.
3. The factory secretly dumped millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Ohio river.
4. The plant absorbs nutrients from the soil.
5. I balked at the prospect of spending four hours on a train with him.
6. The lake near the factory was covered with grey, foul-smelling scum.