Lessons learned in water crisis - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Lessons learned in water crisis

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Toledo's water crisis had the potential to bring chaos to our region ad was for local and state leaders there was no handbook on how to deal with it.

Mayor D. Michael Collins (I) told 13abc's Bill Hormann, Monday,  ” I couldn't pick up a phone and call another mayor and ask how did you handle it.”

Naturally, some mistakes were made and some lessons were learned in case this happens again.

Lesson One…
TAKE A SHOWER

What may have caused the Saturday morning water panic was the misunderstanding over whether you could bathe.

Turns out, we could wash, but a panic had set in.

And we now know a micro-cystin level of 20-parts per billion (ppb) is the true *no wash* number… not the 2 (ppb) we recorded.

Lesson Two…
WE'RE ALL IN IT

Toxin readings dropped to safe levels relatively quickly, as confirmed by state and federal government test results.

And while only a few streets in Point Place and in east Toledo were still in question, no community got the all clear and that created concern once the alert was canceled.

When 13abc's Bill Hormann asked Ed Moore, director of the city's Department of Public Utilities why the city didn't cancel the alert for some water lines, Moore said, “Our system doesn't allow that we use a loop closure system.  We can't section off part of our water system.  We open it up it's open.”

Lesson Three…
COORDINATION SAVED THE DAY

Governor John Kasich (R) quickly declared a state of emergency…

And he made sure helicopters were standing by to send water samples to state and federal testing labs.

Said Collins, “how many days did we save in terms of beginning to get numbers so when you ask me about numbers those numbers are only available because of the resources the governor provided.”

We learned we needed one established uniform testing method for micro-cystin toxin.

Because of this emergency,  an agreement was reached between the Ohio EPA, the federal EPA and the City of Toledo on sample testing.

And the mayor said today communication with residents and local communities  must be improved.

But if another water alert may happen again all these lessons learned could help us deal with it a little better.

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