Don’t Boil, Don’t Drink The Water!
Toxins in the water that serves the metro Toledo area, including some communities in Southeast Michigan, have effectively cut off the water supply. Residents are being told not to drink, wash dishes or brush their teeth with tap water. Surprisingly, boiling the water won’t kill the toxins, it will actually make it worse.
Early Saturday morning, officials tested the water and found an unusually high level of microsystin. That prompted the warning that has now been in effect for 48 hours, and shut down many businesses in the greater Toledo area. Officials say that adults can shower as long as they do not ingest the water, however children are not to bathe in it and it should not be given to pets.
According to Ohio’s governor, several agencies are assisting area hospitals and bringing in water and other supplies to the Toledo area. Stores as far as 50 miles away from the affected area have sold out of bottled water. Farmers near the warning zone are offering well water to those who bring containers to fill.
The level of toxins, caused by blue-green algae in lake Erie, was high enough to raise concerns Friday night. Additional testing early Saturday confirmed those concerns and prompted the warning. Officials were expecting a spike in algae growth, but not until September. The algae that blooms through the summer has become a major problem in the west end of Lake Erie, which is the shallowest of all of the Great Lakes. Water treatment plants along the Lake Erie coast use chemicals to fight the algae including Toledo, which spent $4 million dollars last year to combat the nuisance.
In a recent interview, Mayor D. Michael Collins of Toledo said that new samples show a decrease in toxins, but they are not low enough to lift the warning.