Toledo mayor lifts drinking ban, says water safe in most of area

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Toledo, OH, United States (4E) – A three-day ban on drinking tap water in Toledo, Ohio was lifted Monday as Mayor D. Michael Collins declared the water safe from algae toxins.

The city’s 400,000 residents can start drinking, bathing and cooking with the water as tests indicated that the level of the toxin microcystin has decreased, Collins said in a televised conference.

In a symbolic gesture and to reassure residents, Collins drank a glass of tap water.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency supported the mayor’s call as its director, Craig Butler, said exhaustive testing and analysis were done on the city’s water supply. The test results showed microcystin in drinking water no longer exceeds1 microgram per liter, the standard set by the World Health Organization.

The Mayor, however, said two areas that required further testing are Point Place and east Toledo.

City officials advised residents who have not used their water since Friday to run their tap for 15 minutes before drinking water. For residents who have used tap water since Friday, the officials urged them not to flush their system so as not to increase the load on the system.

The levels of the toxic chemical microcystin in Toledo’s drinking water rose on Friday prompting the mayor to ban using it for drinking, cooking and bathing on Saturday. The higher toxicity was blamed on algae blooms on the west side of Lake Erie, where the city gets most of its water. The algae blooms common in the summer were fed by runoff contaminated by farm fertilizer and sewage-treatment sludge.

Governor John Kasich declared a state of emergency for three counties in Ohio and the state National Guard gave out 33,000 gallons of clean water across 10 water distribution centers in Toledo. The distribution centers closed at 11 a.m. Monday.

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