Now that Toledo’s three-day tap water ban has been lifted, you would think that all things would return to normal. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
First, we know that the tap water was contaminated by Lake Erie algae blooms that brought a toxin known as microcystin into the water. Microcystin can cause kidney and liver damage, and is especially harmful to the elderly and pregnant women. One Toledo resident refused to drink the water or recommend it for her daughter, who happens to be pregnant: “I’m waiting for two or three days. I have a pregnant daughter at home,” said Aretha Howard. “She can’t drink this water.”
Not only are residents finding the tap water and the surrounding algae bloom issue hard to swallow, but state officials are as well. Governor John Kasich said that he and state officials will look into just what went wrong in the coming days and months that transformed Toledo’s tap water into contaminated green slush.
Ohio House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Dave Hall says that Toledo’s tap water issue is not something that happened spontaneously, but rather, a number of issues have created the current havoc: “I don’t think you’re going to change things overnight. There’s not a silver bullet because I think there have been practices that have been in place for years that’s caused us to get to this point.”
Ohio Senator Rob Portman is currently pressing for more funding to arrive in the Great Lakes region so that researchers can study the Great Lakes, the algae bloom issue, and what else could be behind the tap water ban that stretched for three days this past weekend.
At the end of the day, despite the declaration that “the water’s safe,” according to Toledo mayor D. Michael Collins, all is not well – and the water is not safe. The same issues that caused the microcystin contamination in the city’s tap water could return at any time. Rather, this is a problem that Toledo and the state of Ohio need to investigate and handle. Let the bottled water marathons continue…