Rotting bodies of basses, bat rays and other fish have washed up on the shores across the San Francisco Bay Area after unusual toxic algae bloom spread across the region.
“We do get algae blooms around the Bay’s margin. That’s not uncommon, but they’re isolated, and they last only a few days typically,” Jon Rosenfield, senior scientist at environmental advocacy organization San Francisco Baykeeper told news agency Reuters.
“This bloom’s been going on for over a month, and it’s covering San Francisco Bay, so the scope and the duration of this bloom are unprecedented,” he added.
Rosenfield said the cause is the large amount of treated wastewater dumped into the Bay by about forty wastewater treatment centers in the region.
The wastewater of the many residents in the area contains nitrogen and phosphorous, which both cause rapid algae growth.
Scientists identified the algae as heterosigma akashiwo, known to kill fish. “Reports started coming in of dead fish washing up on the shore of the San Mateo coastline and other places around the bay,” Rosenfield said.
“The only solution here is prevention, and prevention involves treating the wastewater to a higher threshold than is normally done,” Rosenfield explained.
“We need the infrastructure to deal with this large volume of wastewater that comes from all the Bay Area’s residents. We need to treat this wastewater to a higher level. That’s going to cost a lot of money.”