City of Toledo to explore backup water supply

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Making sure there's a safe backup supply for clean drinking water. That's the issue to be studied in Toledo.

Five years after half a million people lost their drinking water for a weekend, the hope is to never have that happen again.

The city of Toledo currently has a backup supply but 13abc was told it doesn't have near the capacity the city would need to service its nearly half a million customers.

So now the study is expected to begin to come up with what is essentially "Plan B"

Each summer, the green algae appears in Lake Erie, giving some people pause about their drinking water especially after the no drink order, the water crisis of 2014. It's prompted a renewed discussion of a backup water source.

"It's been identified as a key need and should be addressed certainly," said Warren Henry, administrator of the Department of Public Utilities.

We're not talking about a backup water treatment plant but a backup source. That could be treated water, raw water or both. If anything should happen at the intake or plant Toledo will need to be ready.

"It has to do with reliability, long term longevity of the system," said Henry.

Toledo city council will soon vote to approve a study to look at options. Which could include places like Oregon, Bowling Green, maybe even Detroit. Sylvania having property along Lake Erie for a second raw water source might even be in the mix.

"All those options are being put on the table and looked at and evaluated. Rather than eliminate and say it's not feasible or it's not practical, let's put them all on the table," said Henry.

With so many communities now signing on for regional water, it's become more clear who's with Toledo for the long haul and what the future of water could look like in our entire region.

This study is mandated by the EPA to be completed by the end of 2020. That will then serve as a guide as to when this might all come into operation.