16 min

Toledoans cannot drink the water - Sat, Aug 2, 2014

#toledo - #health - #lakeerie - #farming


Advisory issued a little after Midnight on August 2.


The city of Toledo released an urgent notice to all Toledo water users overnight.

The city is asking anyone who receives water from Toledo to avoid drinking or boiling the water.

Chemists testing water at Toledo's Collins Park Water Treatment Plant tested for microcystin in excess of the recommended amount.

Consuming water containing algal toxins may result in abnormal liver function, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, numbness or dizziness. Seek medical attention if you feel you have been exposed to algal toxins and are having adverse health effects. Skin contact with contaminated water can cause irritation or rashes. Contact a veterinarian immediately if pets or livestock show signs of illness.

What happened? What is being done?

Lake Erie, which is a source of drinking water for the Toledo water system may have been impacted by a harmful algal bloom (HAB). These organisms are capable of producing a number of toxins that may pose a risk to human and animal health. HABs occur when excess nitrogen and phosphorus are present in lakes and streams. Such nutrients can come from runoff of over-fertilized fields and lawns, from malfunctioning septic systems and from livestock pens.

Additional monitoring is being conducted and we will let you know when the situation has been resolved or if additional precautions should be taken. The water system is running additional tests to verify the severity of the microcystin levels in our water supply.

My TT comments:

I'm glad that we make our own beer.

A person may have to drive to Findlay or Ann Arbor to purchase water.

I went to the Talmadge Rd Andersons store a little before they opened at 7:00 a.m., and I saw what I expected, which was a long line of people with grocery carts, waiting outside the building to enter. It looked like some kind of holiday shopping madness. I said the heck with that and went to Bakery Unlimited on Secor and bought donuts. (BTW, they also sell Hinkles' Bear Claws.)

Finally, living the dream lifestyle.


The notice — posted on the city’s Facebook page shortly before 2 a.m.


Affected communities include:
Troy Township
Lake Township
Perrysburg Township
Ottawa Hills
Erie Township
Village of Metamora
Eastern Swan Creek Township
Village of Whitehouse
Luna Pier


Below is a list of the areas affected:
ALL of Lucas County





Troy Township




Lake TWP




Perrysburg TWP

Ottawa Hills

Erie TWP

Village of Metamora

Eastern Swan Creek TWP

Village of Whitehouse

Luna Pier

Springfield TWP


South County Water Customers - Michigan

City of Toledo Facebook post from about 7:40 a.m. :

We will have additional information this morning about the do not drink notice that will include what steps are being taken to ensure that our public has access to safe drinking water. We are working with Lucas County Emergency Management. No interviews are being granted right now until we have more information.

It is understandable that there is a huge degree of public concern, but we would advise everyone to remain calm, an alternative water supply and a distribution system will be announced as quickly as possible.

a month ago story



Carroll Township, located a little north of Oak Harbor, had a similar issue last September. The Sep 5, 2013 message for Carroll Township residents:

HEALTH WARNING: Carroll Water & Sewer Dist. says Algal toxins were found in Carroll Twp water system. They warn residents SHOULD NOT DRINK THE WATER! Boiling water does not help. They are switching to a new source now and are flushing the water lines. In the meantime residents should buy alternative water for pets, brushing teeth, making baby formula, etc.

Sep 7, 2013 - Toledo Blade - Toxins overwhelm Carroll Township water plant

Scientists are learning that the toxin and the algae act more independently of one another than previously thought. For many types of algae, including microcystis, toxins are released as algae cells die. Yet, for reasons unknown, colorless and odorless toxins can remain in the water for weeks or months after algae blooms dissipate in the fall, said Linda Merchant-Masonbrink, Ohio EPA harmful algae bloom coordinator.

Jun 30, 2014 - Toledo Blade - Treatment plants voluntarily test for microcystin - "But tracking harmful Lake Erie toxins not mandated"

[Carroll] township briefly shut down its water plant in September after Mr. Biggert detected 3.56 parts per billion of microcystin in the plant’‍s treated water, more than three times the danger threshold established by the World Health Organization.

The shutdown has been described as an “eye-opener,” but also as an anomaly since Carroll Township’‍s is the only facility to have ever detected such high levels of toxins in its treated water.

Following the shutdown, residents spent two days drinking bottled water until safe drinking water could be restored, but Mr. Biggert is confident the ozone generators will do their part to avoid future contamination.

Jul 26, 2014 - Toledo Blade - Algae season starting now, will continue into October

The state of Ohio put out its first algae advisories of 2014 along Lake Erie this week, based on samples from the Lake Erie beach at Maumee Bay State Park.

On Friday [July 25], the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department said in a two-page release the latest tests on water near that beach showed microcystin at a concentration of 19.18 parts per billion, more than three times the threshold for safe recreational water activity, which is 6 parts per billion.

The lake’s most prevalent form of algae, microcystis, is a neurotoxin that can make people and animals sick or be fatal in large enough doses. Scientists have found in recent years it is more toxic than arsenic.

Residents are advised to keep their distance in general, because microcystis puts out an aerosol that can be inhaled, especially when water is agitated. The aerosol can make people and animals light-headed or sick without coming in contact with the water or ingesting it.

Conditions can change hourly, based on wind and weather, and algae blooms can move around.

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department said symptoms of exposure include rash, hives, blisters, sore throat, asthmalike breathing difficulties, diarrhea, vomiting, abnormal liver function, and stomach pain. The algae also is known to make people light-headed or dizzy, and produce allergylike symptoms, such as a running nose or eyes.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst, NOAA said it expects this summer’s outbreak to be about a 6. It underestimated last summer’s bloom though.

Low, but detectable levels of the toxin also have been found this month in the Oregon water-treatment plant. It was in low enough concentrations to be removed, but was a reminder to plant operators the algae season has begun.

historymike posted at 08:27:08 AM on Aug 02, 2014:

I think it would be more effective to grab a bucket and try to catch some of this sporadic rain.

Apparently, we an Iron Dome installed over Toledo that prevents rainfall. I thought it was going to rain here about two hours ago, based upon the radar images. But that rain fizzled out, and a new area of rain formed just north of the city with more rain continuing just south of us.

At the Toledo Farmers Market this morning, a vendor was trying to sell little bottles of Aquafina for three dollars per bottle.

"No problems in Oregon though."


Many local communities are under a water advisory due to an algae issue in the Lake. The City of Oregon is NOT affected by this advisory and it's water is SAFE for consumption.

At the City of Toledo Facebook page,
a commenter posted:

City of Oregon Fire Departments are filling Water containers for FREE. There is a Fire Department on Wheeling near Pickle & 280 & another on the corner of Seaman & Wynn.

But I saw nothing like that posted on the Oregon Fire Department Facebook page.

11:00 a.m. City of Toledo Facebook post

At this time, the City is working with multiple agencies in the area to determine the best possible method to distribute water to those who might not have access. More information will be provided on this at 11:30am.

Additionally, it is NOT recommended that you sell/scalp water to residents. We understand that there is a large degree of public concern, but please remain calm, as ample supplies will be available soon.

Somehow, this morning's rain missed us. Impressive.

updated list of affected communities as of mid-morning.





Troy Township




Lake TWP




Perrysburg TWP

Ottawa Hills

Erie TWP

Village of Metamora

Eastern Swan Creek TWP

Village of Whitehouse

Luna Pier

Eire Township

Bedford Township


Springfield TWP



South County Water Customers - Michigan

July 10, 2014 Columbus Dispatch story


Rushing to buy bottled water while it poured rain [in southern Michigan]. Fascinating.

Photo from a Blade story

Another August 2 Blade story titled Search for bottled water sends residents across town, state lines

I know that the lack of water is a problem for some, but the story can also be a bit humorous.

People on social media have reported seeing Toledoans as far as Lima and Delware, Ohio, – all the way up to Ann Arbor – in search of water that's safe to drink.

Are Toledoans easy to spot? Is there a field guide?

Maybe a typo. I assume that's Delaware, Ohio. If so, that's nearly two hours south of here.


Lima police are even urging their residents to let northwest Ohioans have dibs.

“Toxic water in Toledo right now. Please let Toledo residents get bottled water here. Our water is safe. They need it,” Lima police Tweeted from @LimaPolice, just before 10:40 a.m.

Here's the link to that Lima police tweet, which included the hashtag #emptyglasscity that I think the Blade created for this event.

I like the use of Storify.


My glass is not empty. It currently contains cold-brew coffee from the grocery store. Not as good as homemade, but it's passable. Glass contents will be upgraded as the day progresses.


Gov. John Kasich declared a state of emergency in northwest Ohio after the dangerous toxin microcystin was detected at a water treatment facility the morning of Aug. 2.

Can we still drive on the roads?

Okay, it's not all bad.

1:19 p.m. Ottawa Tavern tweet

We WILL be open tonight at 8. Plastic cups, bottles of soda, store-bought ice and 10 gallons of water. And, a bottle of beer's always safe.

Earlier today, I saw this tweet by Taylor Dungjen:

I am, as usual, monitoring the police scanner. I got three letters for you guys: OMG.

I dialed up the Toledo Police / Lucas County Sheriff scanner on my iPhone. The police have received multiple calls about people selling water out of their vehicles. One vehicle had Pennsylvania license plates. We need to be business-friendly.

Apparently, the National Guard is bringing water to the Toledo area.

Mayor Collins press conference right now.

Water is headed to the Toledo area from Columbus, Delaware, Cincinnati, and Akron.

From the recent press conference, Taylor Dungjen tweet :

Collins guarantees no one will be without water at the end of the day (meaning bottled will be available to all).

2:41 p.m. tweet by 13abc:

#Watercrisis: Toledo announces times and place for water distribution


[Mayor Collins] urged Toledoans to stay patient and ask that they not line up for water ahead of time.

Water will be distributed at the following locations and times:

5:00 P.M.

  • Central Catholic High School, 2250 Cherry Street, Toledo, Ohio 43608
  • Waite High School, 301 Morrison Drive, Toledo, Ohio 43605

6:00 P.M.

  • Woodward High School, 701 East Central Avenue, Toledo, OH 43608
  • Springfield High School, 1470 South McCord Rd, Holland, OH 43528

"No excuse from any city official should be good enough - start holding them accountable."

We're solid. The program is sound.

Good reminder

Time for folks in Toledo to calm down . We're out of water, not bacon.


Thanks, upso.

The water story is currently at the top of the Reddit homepage.



Watching upso's feed: https://twitter.com/tweetTOLEDO of tweets by others:

Toledo News Now @ToledoNewsNow · 2m
Brian Biggie w/Promedica: "60 people with gastoenterological problem" at Toledo Hospital #ToledoWaterWarning
Rossford Police @RossfordPolice · 1m
Water for Wood County residents at Rossford High School. Proof of residency required.

Initially, water was to arrive at Central Catholic at 5:00 p.m.

Diane Larson @DianeLarson · 21s
UPDATE: Water not arriving at Central Catholic until 6:30pm. Will arrive at Waite 5:00pm.

The dingleberries like to expose themselves in a "crisis."

3:34 p.m. Taylor Dungjen tweet

Text from friend: Guy lost trunkful of water at 475-75 split. Stopped,then took off leaving it behind


Tweet from a few hours ago by the Mayor Collins account.

Results of water testing are expected from US EPA this evening around 7:30

And then what?

If the results are good, does that mean water can be consumed immediately, or does the ban remain for another day or two, so that the system can be "cleaned?"

And if the results are bad ...?

Blade story

Water samples were sent to Michigan and Cincinnati for testing; a third sample is headed to Columbus at about 3:30 today. Mayor D. Michael Collins said each test is different and will allow a “triangulation” of tests. The mayor declined to say when test results might be available. He did not want to “put a burden of time” on results.

4:16 p.m. tweet by Taylor Dungjen:

Kroger: 16 truckloads of water were diverted to Toledo; another 16 will be sent up later today. Stores will impose 4 cases/family limit.




What about citizens preparing themselves, regardless of the natural disaster? Area residents should know that by mid to late July, the algae bloom increases in western Lake Erie, and it lasts for several weeks.


Launched in February 2003, Ready is a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters.

I doubt the information regarding water preparedness is revolutionary, but it's been out there in many places for a long time.


You should store at least one gallon of water per person for three days. A normally active person needs about three quarters of a gallon of fluid daily, from water and other beverages. However, individual needs vary, depending on age, health, physical condition, activity, diet and climate.

To determine your water needs, take the following into account:

  • One gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation.
  • Children, nursing mothers and sick people may need more water.
  • A medical emergency might require additional water.
  • If you live in a warm weather climate more water may be necessary. In very hot temperatures, water needs can double.
  • Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person.

Again, Carroll Township experienced a Lake Erie algae issue with their water supply in early September 2013. Why wasn't that a warning to Toledo residents?

The algae bloom occurs on Lake Erie each year in the late summer and early fall.

Sep 7, 2013 Blade story

The Ohio EPA does not require Ohio’s shoreline communities to test for microcystin, even though western Lake Erie has been coated by scum almost annually for weeks at a time since 1995.

Jul 26, 2014 Toledo Blade story titled "Algae season starting now, will continue into October"

Another .gov website, NOAA, issues predictions for the algae bloom.

Jul 10, 2014 - noaanews.noaa.gov - NOAA, partners predict significant harmful algal bloom in western Lake Erie this summer

Citizens living near this issue should probably be aware of this information. We know more about Ohio State football and the Kardashians than our own local environment.

We could have digested the above info one to three weeks ago, and then decided on our own whether to increase our personal water supply, especially after considering what happened in Carroll Township about a year ago.

Maybe someone will create a new alert system that would at least be useful to cellphone users. I saw this suggestion somewhere. It would be similar to the Amber Alert system or the NOAA weather radio alarm system, and it would notify people about algae changes and possibly test results, assuming that it's possible to gather, synthesize, and distribute the information efficiently. It could be a daily digest that's e-mailed to subscribers during the algae season from mid-July to mid-October to keep people informed. Or a simple blog site and Twitter feed that's updated daily. An algae monitoring Twitter feed probably exists now.

Anyway, going forward, if it's only August 2, and we have this algae alarm and temporary water ban, and the algae season may continue into October, then...


March 2009 Toledo Talk post

Scientists have made western Lake Erie's algae one of the Great Lakes region's hottest research issues since 1995 when microcystis, a toxic algae blamed for 75 deaths in Brazil in 1996, reappeared in western Lake Erie for the first time in 20-plus years.

September 2003 Toledo Talk post

The western basin, near Toledo, has seen a resurgence of a toxic form of algae. The algae likely is caused by an abundance of phosphorus, the common farm fertilizer and component of human waste. Phosphorus has been on the rise since 1997. By far the biggest source of phosphorus is the Maumee River.

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