City of Toledo says the water is safe to drink

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Toledo leaders are trying to spread the word that the water is safe to drink.

"We've had no microcystin in our tap since the 2014 event," Ed Moore the Director of Public Utilities for the city of Toledo said. "There is not a situation where you're going to wake up one cay and there be a do not drink advisory."

Last week marked the third anniversary of Toledo's water crisis when hundreds of thousands of customers couldn't drink the water. But since then, rumors have started to circulate, specifically on social media, that it's happening again.

"We just got our test results and it's non-detect in the raw water which is our lake and at the tap," Moore said. "So, zero chance of a do not drink advisory."

There is a bloom on Lake Erie. But the city says just because there it's there doesn't mean that it's toxic or that it's in the tap water. Plus there area a number of safe guards in place to make sure that doesn't happen.

"The bloom is pretty substantial," Capt. Paul Pacholski, a Lake Erie charter boat captain said. "It will get worse because there's high phosphorus and nitrogen levels and that's what feeds it."

Pacholski adds that the recent stretch of quiet, sunny weather also adds fuel to the fire.

But it's important to remember, "We had the biggest algal bloom in history in 2015 and no do not drink advisory," Moore told 13abc.

In other words, it doesn't matter how big the algal bloom is or how green the water looks: what matters is whether the bloom becomes toxic.

Those who watch the waters day in and day out say it all comes down to early detection, methods that are already in place.

"The monitoring that's going on now is unprecedented in history," Pacholski said.

Moore adds, "we've done major, major improvements sine 2014. We've put in multiple barriers to fight harmful algal blooms. We're prepared to deal with what's out in the lake."

If microcystin did get into the tap, the city says time is on their side. It takes some five hours for that water to reach the tap, leaving a huge opportunity to make adjustments at the treatment level.

Here is the statement from the City of Toledo:

Our water is safe to drink. The Water Quality Dashboard provides accurate information on the status of our drinking water every day. Citizens may rely on the dashboard. Residents have direct access to daily test results, real time buoy and sondes data, FAQs and NOAA HAB forecasts by visiting the Water Quality Dashboard on the City’s website at www.toledo.oh.gov.

The dashboard is updated by staff at the Water Treatment Plant to provide current water quality status. Information that is not verified on the water quality dashboard should be disregarded.

Citizens and businesses are encouraged to sign up to receive text alerts on the Toledo webpage and may also “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive real-time updates.

The City of Toledo closely monitors conditions in the intake crib in the lake. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Great Lakes Observing System, plus university research teams, all join Toledo water treatment professionals in monitoring lake water conditions to provide early warning of potential Harmful Algal Blooms so that treatment adjustments can be made in accordance with established protocols.