Toledo water resources contaminated by toxin from algae in Lake Erie

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Aug. 7, 2014 -- Last weekend, water resources across the city of Toledo, Ohio, were affected by the presence of the contaminant Microcystin, a toxic peptide often produced by cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, that supposedly originated from a harmful algal bloom in Lake Erie.

As a result, Ohio Governor John Kasich declared a state of emergency and officials enforced a "Do-Not-Drink" and "Do-Not-Boil" order on Saturday, Aug. 2, for nearly 500,000 residents in three East Toledo counties -- Lucas, Wood, and Fulton -- where the pollutant was found.

Water quality tests conducted at Toledo's Collins Park Water Treatment Plant revealed the presence of Microcystin in two samples.

For three days, residents of the city impacted by the crisis -- about two-thirds of the Toledo area -- were banned from using or consuming their tap water and were dependent on water supplies brought in by state agencies.

On Monday, Aug. 4, Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins lifted the ban in a news conference after a number of further tests indicated that the presence of Microcystin had receded to safe levels following rigorous treatment methods.

State and local officials are continuing to monitor the algal bloom, as well as the toxic levels of Microcystin in Lake Erie and local water resources. In the news conference, Collins stressed the importance of better addressing these algae problems in Lake Erie through, for example, scientific and political partnerships.

Microcystin if ingested has the potential to cause diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, and liver problems, to name a few conditions.

See also:

"NACWA stresses need for solutions addressing water quality challenges"

"Increasing global algal bloom toxicity tied to nutrient enrichment, climate change"

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