Wingfoot Lake is located in Portage County. Along its shores are permanent signs warning recreational boaters and anglers about the potential for toxic algae.

Every body of water in Ohio has the potential to host a toxic algae bloom. They happen anywhere conditions are right, not just in Lake Erie.

The Ohio and Erie Canal is loaded with weeds, but no toxic algae has been detected.

At least not yet.

Waters in the canal divide along the state's watershed line, flowing North to Akron, to the Cuyahoga, then to Lake Erie. Waters also flow South, through Barberton, to the Tuscarawas River then to the Muskingum, then the mighty Ohio.

Inland lake algal blooms are caused by faulty septic systems, storm sewer overflow, and agricultural and lawn fertilizer runoff. If a harmful algae is detected, follow directions posted by the state parks or Ohio EPA.

The toxins the algae release can cause liver damage. Many dogs die each year after ingesting the toxic water, so it's a good idea to keep your canine out of the water. If toxin levels are high enough and water is swallowed, it could lead to liver disease in humans, and even death.

There's no need to panic about Ohio's water quality. The state monitors for toxins and posts reports. If you have concerns, you can call the Ohio EPA or visit their website or more information.