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State of emergency declared in Toledo after water supply found to contain toxins

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Ohio Governor John Kasich has declared a state of emergency in Lucas County, Ohio, and the greater Toledo area after toxins were detected in the water supply earlier today. According to the Toledo Blade, chemists testing water at the Collins Park plant found two sample readings for microcystin that exceeded the recommended “do not drink” standard of one micro-gram per liter standard.

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department is strongly recommending that restaurants and food facilities temporarily suspend their operations. The only exception is facilities that can guarantee no consumption of tap water. Well water is OK to drink. The city‘‍s plant provides treatment services to an area of approximately 400,000 people across 100 square miles. Other areas serviced include Perrysburg, Rossford, the villages of Walbridge and Ottawa Hills, and portions of Wood County, Lucas County and the Village of Northwood.

Oregon police Chief Michael Navarre said the City of Oregon, where the water plant is not affected, would make water available this morning to those who arrived with their own containers. Extra police officers were on duty to escort water tankers and maintain order when water is handed out.

Many stores in Toledo and surrounding areas had already sold out of bottled water by early this morning. Residents were traveling as far as Michigan to find clean water. Many local businesses, schools, and universities were also closed for the day and numerous outdoor activities and events were canceled.

Officials believe that a harmful algal bloom in Lake Erie may have caused the toxins to appear in the water.

The city recommended:

  • Do not drink the water. Alternative water should be used for drinking, making infant formula, making ice, brushing teeth and preparing food. Pets should not drink the water.
  • Do not boil the water. Boiling the water will not destroy the toxins — it will increase the concentration of the toxins.

Stay tuned for more on this developing situation.