Bloom or Bust

The economic cost of Blue Green Algal blooms

Algal blooms are of considerable concern not only for environmental agencies but for municipalities, businesses and our local economy alike.

Algal blooms will have a negative economic impact on many of our local industries because of the detrimental effect on water quality, causing harm to fish, wildlife and our health. Lake water can't be used for swimming, fishing or inside peoples' homes. Ultimately affected lakes and the properties surrounding them become unattractive to investors.

Once algal blooms take hold and a region develops a reputation for toxic lakes, essential local industries such as fishing, construction and tourism will suffer.

Real estate values are one of the largest areas of concern.

There have been numerous, reputable studies in North America that have demonstrated a clear link between toxic algal blooms and losses in property value. These losses have ranged between 12% and 50%, depending on a property’s proximity to a lake.

“Using a detailed, multi-lake (Harmful Algal Bloom) hedonic analysis across 6 Ohio counties between 2009 and 2015, we show capitalization losses associated with near lake homes between 12% and 17% rising to over 30% for lake adjacent homes.


“In a new study, researchers at The Ohio State University estimate algal blooms at two Ohio lakes cost Ohio homeowners $152 million in lost property value over six years”.

“Lakeshore residents across multiple states have reported anecdotal evidence of significant declines in their property values with some even suggesting a 30-50% drop due to the presence of HABs (Harmful Algae Blooms)”

Arenschield 2015, Oct; Rathke 2015.


“Bloom and Bust: Toxic Algae’s Impact on Nearby Property Values”
David Wolf, Ohio State University

Sylvan Lake Watershed Stewardship Society,
August 2017:


A few tips on prevention

  • use phosphate-free detergents, personal care and household cleaning products
  • avoid using fertilizers on lawns, especially fertilizers that contain phosphorus
  • maintain a natural shoreline on lake and riverfront properties
  • reduce toxic runoff by planting or maintaining vegetation along waterways and minimizing fertilizer use
  • check septic systems to ensure they do not leak into the water source

Report blue-green
algal blooms

If you spot blue-green algal blooms, call the:

Spills Action Centre
1-866-MOETIPS (6638477)
TTY: 1-855-889-5775