A State of Emergency has been declared concerning the water supply that reaches over 500,000 residents in Ohio and parts of Michigan. According to an ABC affiliate, the water source that supplies drinking water for the Toledo area and parts of Michigan is contaminated with a harmful algal bloom (HAB). Liver-affecting microcystin is a toxin from blue-green algae and is the toxin that was detected in the Toledo area’s water supply. Lake Erie contained an excess of nitrogen an phosphorus. This occurs when runoff from fertilized fields and laws, malfunctioning septic systems and livestock pens hit the water source, according to International Business Times. Governor John Kasich has declared a State of Emergency for Fulton, Lucas and Wood Counties.
The HABs threaten the health of animals and humans. Boiling the water will not make it safe to drink or cook with. Boiling the water may make the situation even more dangerous. Residents have been ordered to restricted uses of the water: Healthy adults can wash their hands and shower with the water, but children or adults with weak immune systems should not. Symptoms of poisoning from microcystin include diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, and abnormal liver functioning. According to the EPA, severe poisonings from the toxin can include respiratory arrest and seizures.
On Twitter, Toledo Mayor Michael Collins reported no sicknesses from the microcystin in the water as of Saturday afternoon. The toxins are more likely to kill animals, and residents in the affected water crisis areas are being ordered not to give the water to their pets or livestock.
All of Lucas County is included in the water emergency.
Specific local areas affected by the water contaminants are: Bedford, Bedford TWP, Erie TWP, Lake TWP, LaSalle, Luckey, Luna Pier, Maumee, Village of Metamora, Northwood, Ottawa Hills, Perrysburg, Perrysburg TWP, Rossford, Springfield TWP, Eastern Swan Creek TWP, Sylvania, Toledo, Troy Township, Walbridge, Waterville, Village of Whitehouse,
Also included in the State of Emergency are South County Water Customers in Michigan. Other areas may be affected as well and are being notified as updates arise.
The area’s bottled water at supermarkets and Costco have been wiped out.
On social media, the hashtag #fullglasscity is featuring stories of good Samaritans helping to make sure others have access to water in Toledo during the State of Emergency. The National Guard and the Ohio Department of Transportation delivered water to the area on Saturday. Additional test results by the EPA are expected at 7:30 pm.
[Photo via Flickr]