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article imageOhio under 'State of Emergency' Toledo's water contaminated

By Karen Graham     Aug 2, 2014 in Environment
Toledo - About 2 a.m. Saturday morning, officials in Toledo, Ohio issued a "do not drink" warning, declaring the city's water supply contaminated with the toxin microcystin. Ohio Gov. John Kasich declared a State of Emergency, allowing water to be brought in.
Based on information surrounding the issuance of the alert, chemists at Toledo's Collins Water Treatment Plant were testing water samples when several came back positive for microcystin, a toxin associated with the algae bloom in Lake Erie. This prompted the warning to not drink or boil the water. The warning affects over 500,000 residents.
The advisory also affects a number of Michigan areas getting water from Toledo: Bedford Township, Erie Township, La Salle Township and Luna Pier. According to the City of Oregon Police Department, Oregon's water is not affected. They have said they will fill containers with water for free. Those locations are at 5002 Seaman Road 1102 S. Wheeling St. and 4421 Bayshore Rd.
The city of Toledo is providing one case of bottled water per family at Waite High School and Central Catholic High School. The water crisis has prompted an outpouring of kindness and concern by residents of surrounding areas not affected by the contaminated water. Good Samaritans have opened their spigots to complete strangers needing clean water, while others have purchased cases of bottled water and dropped them off in neighborhoods.
The official warning says:
Do not drink the water
Do not boil the water because it will increase the toxicity of the microcystin.
You can bathe or wash your hands and face with the water, but supervise children who could accidentally ingest the water.
Do not allow pets to drink the water
Microcystin: What is this toxin?
Toledo gets its water supply from Lake Erie. The city's water supply has possibly been impacted because of a Harmful Algae Bloom (HAB) that has occurred on the lake. The microcystin-containing blooms are found in countries around the globe. Algae blooms are a result of excess sources of phosphorus and nitrogen produced by fertilizer runoff or broken septic systems. This is the second time Toledo has issued a "Do not drink" warning, the last occurring in Carol Township in 2013.
Once microcystin infected water is ingested, the toxin travels to the liver, causing abnormal liver function. People affected by the toxin will sometimes have diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, numbness or dizziness. If anyone thinks they have been affected, they should seek medical attention immediately. Even skin contact can cause irritation or rashes. And look out for animals and livestock.
The Ohio Department of Transportation and the National Guard are working to bring water to the city. Residents are asked to stay alert for further information regarding the alert.
More about Ohio, Toledo residents, Lake erie, Algae, Toxin
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