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Water safe to drink in Ohio's fourth-largest city

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 4, 2014 at 1:24 pm •  Published: August 4, 2014
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TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Two days after warning some 400,000 people in Ohio and Michigan not to drink their tap water, the mayor of Ohio's fourth-largest city declared on Monday that the water was now safe and took a sip.

The city lifted the advisory after dozens of tests over the weekend showed an algae-induced toxin contaminating Lake Erie had dropped to safe levels following intensive chemical treatments.

"Families can return to normal life," said Mayor D. Michael Collins.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich said the state will conduct a full review of what happened, including taking a look at Toledo's aging water system and figuring out how to reduce pollution that feeds algae in the western end of the lake.

It's still not clear, he told The Associated Press, whether the algae bloom centered where Toledo draws its water was entirely to blame or if changes also are needed with the water-supply system.

The weekend warning had led Kasich to declare a state of emergency in three counties, bringing in soldiers from the Ohio National Guard to deliver bottled water and operate purification systems to produce drinkable water.

Residents were told not to boil the water, brush their teeth with it or cook with it. They filled their cars with bottled water handed out by volunteers. Grocery stores diverted water shipments to the area and farmers stocked tanks with well water. In southeastern Michigan, authorities operated water stations for the 30,000 customers affected by the contamination.

After the ban was lifted, city officials recommended that residents who had not used their water since Saturday flush out their systems. They asked people not to water lawns or wash cars at the risk of overwhelming the system.

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