Some 400,000 in Ohio without drinking water

August 04, 2014 - 12:00:00 am
Elizabeth Gotay Escalera (left) and other volunteers unload drinking water from a truck outside Waite High School in Toledo, Ohio, yesterday.

TOLEDO: Testing of water for toxins in Toledo, Ohio, continued yesterday as some 400,000 people remained without safe drinking water for a second day following the discovery of high toxin levels from algae on Lake Erie.

Toledo Mayor D Michael Collins said some sampling showed decreased toxin levels but that results from further tests would not be known until later in the day. “All I can tell you is that everything is trending in a very postive direction,” Collins told reporters. But he also cautioned “this is not over yet” and he could not predict when water would be safe to drink.

About 500,000 people get water from the contaminated source but about 100,000 residents of some commmunities have backup water supply systems, said city of Toledo spokeswoman Lisa Ward.

Health officials sent samples to several laboratories for testing after finding Lake Erie may have been affected by a “harmful algal bloom,” Ohio Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman Heidi Griesmer said. 

The lake provides the bulk of the area’s drinking water.

Ohio Governor John Kasich declared a state of emergency on Saturday for the state’s fourth-largest city and surrounding counties. The Ohio National Guard, various state agencies and the American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio were working to truck safe water to the area. Many residents drove to other states in search of fresh water as news of the crisis led stores to rapidly sell out of bottled water supplies. 

REUTERS

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