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More tests needed before Ohio city gets water back


TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - More tests are needed to ensure that toxins are out of Toledo's water supply, the mayor said Sunday, instructing the 400,000 people in the region to avoid drinking tap water for a second day.

"This is not over yet," Mayor D. Michael Collins said, adding that new samples showing decreased levels of toxins in the water are a positive sign.

Toledo officials issued the warning early Saturday after tests at one treatment plant showed two sample readings for microcystin above the standard for consumption, possibly because of algae on Lake Erie. The city also said not to boil the water because that would only increase the toxin's concentration. The mayor also warned that children should not shower or bathe in the water and that it shouldn't be given to pets.

Water Toxins Spur State Of Emergency In Toledo, Ohio

Long lines quickly formed at water distribution centers and store shelves were emptied of bottled water. The warning effectively cut off the water supply to Toledo, most of its suburbs and a few areas in southeastern Michigan.

City and state officials monitoring the water were waiting for a new set of samples to be analyzed Sunday at a federal lab in Cincinnati, Collins said.

Worried residents told not to drink, brush their teeth or wash dishes with the water waited hours for deliveries of bottled water from across Ohio as the governor declared a state of emergency.

Gov. John Kasich pledged that state agencies were working to bring water and other supplies to areas around Toledo while also assisting hospitals and other businesses affected.

"What's more important than water? Water's about life," Kasich said. "We know it's difficult. We know it's frustrating."

The governor said it was too early to say how long the water advisory will last or what caused toxins to spike suddenly in the drinking water.

"We don't really want to speculate on this," Kasich said. "When it comes to this water, we've got be very careful."

Families toting empty coolers, milk jugs and even cookie jars topped them off with well water funneled out of the back of a pickup truck.

Tyshanta DeLoney, of Toledo, filled up a big plastic container after spending much of the day searching for water. "That was a blessing," she said.

Late Saturday, Kasich ordered the state's National Guard to deliver water purification systems, pallets of bottled water and ready-to-eat meals to residents in Lucas, Wood and Fulton counties.

The National Guard, alone, had produced 33,000 gallons of drinkable water by Sunday morning, and an additional 15,000 gallons had been delivered in collapsible containers.

The first tests indicating trouble came Friday night and additional testing confirmed the elevated readings, said Craig Butler, director of the state's Environmental Protection Agency.

Algae blooms during the summer have become more frequent and troublesome around the western end of Lake Erie, the shallowest of the five Great Lakes.

The algae growth is fed by phosphorus mainly from farm fertilizer runoff and sewage treatment plants, leaving behind toxins that have contributed to oxygen-deprived dead zones where fish can't survive. The toxins can kill animals and sicken humans.

Scientists had predicted a significant bloom of the blue-green algae this year, but they didn't expect it to peak until early September.

There were no reports yet of people becoming sick from drinking the water, Collins said.

Operators of water plants all along Lake Erie, which supplies drinking water for 11 million people, have been concerned over the last few years about toxins fouling their supplies.

Almost a year ago, one township just east of Toledo told its 2,000 residents not to drink or use the water coming from their taps. That was believed to be the first time a city has banned residents from using the water because of toxins from algae in the lake.

Most water treatment plants along the western Lake Erie shoreline treat their water to combat the algae. Toledo spent about $4 million last year on chemicals to treat its water and combat the toxins.

Join the discussion

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Tom Harrell August 03 2014 at 8:01 AM

We may not have good Drinking Water or Roads or Safe Bridges and our Schools are Falling down on our Children, but we DO have the BEST Guns and Bombs and Aircraft Carriers and Super Planes and our Representatives and Generals got the Best Retirement and Healthcare our Money can BUY.

Flag Reply +54 rate up
16 replies
amaconsul August 03 2014 at 8:57 AM

Why not ask House Speaker Boehner to do his job in his own state as well as in Congress?

Flag Reply +36 rate up
10 replies
shar August 03 2014 at 9:12 AM

Toledo is a short drive to almost every city in the Tri State Area. So getting water should be easy... Heck you can be in Canada in 4 hr. and you know they have clean water. Besides that it's time to wake up stop dumping crap in our lakes, rivers, etc. Spend the money to fix our infrastructure. This will get worse if we continue if we do nothing.

Flag Reply +33 rate up
5 replies
Tom Harrell August 03 2014 at 7:54 AM

Maybe, since the GOTParty won't spend a CENT on our Infrastructure and the Safety of all Americans, they'll allocate enough money for CASKETS, EH ? ?

Flag Reply +32 rate up
21 replies
IBruzEZ August 03 2014 at 8:11 AM

Man dumps all the garbage into it's water supply then is surprised when the water becomes toxic. Idiots... we have known this for a long time now....

Flag Reply +32 rate up
3 replies
breid2 August 03 2014 at 7:25 AM

anorther MAN MADE problem.

Flag Reply +31 rate up
3 replies
Viper1ex19 August 03 2014 at 8:54 AM

Algae in Lake Erie?

Is that slang for- Toxic Chemicals from "FRACKING" ?

Flag Reply +20 rate up
5 replies
tgarfi1010 August 03 2014 at 10:13 AM

This is only the beginning. There will be more of this as we continue to pollute the planet.

Flag Reply +17 rate up
2 replies
Richard C. tgarfi1010 August 03 2014 at 1:38 PM

This didn't just start last Friday................It has been going on for many decades ago! And, the government (local, state, and federal) agecies told people that are drinking water was always safe. But, they don't drink it! Why do you think people are buying so much 'Bottle' water? And, where do these companies that suppy it, get it? You might want to have it tested by an independent Lab!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
savannahswithgod tgarfi1010 August 03 2014 at 4:20 PM

I imagine we brought garbage with us when arriving at Plymouth Rock! And of course Adam just tossed condoms around right and left, that Eve was a Hell of a Woman!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Abusymomof4 August 03 2014 at 8:41 AM

From what our local news said, this algae bloom happens every year, but this year it is really heavy. They even told people not to bathe and only wash your hands when it is absolutely necessary, but only the healthy adults. And boiling the water will actually make the algae grow, not kill it! Sad situation for our fellow Buckeyes.

Flag Reply +16 rate up
3 replies
bd2thebone August 03 2014 at 9:15 AM

Only beer can save Toledo now.

Flag Reply +13 rate up
6 replies
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