State of emergency declared for NW Ohio counties over water contamination

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Gov. John Kasich says water will be flowing into the Toledo area from all corners of Ohio to help the 500,000 people who are being warned not to drink the city’s water.

Toledo’s mayor says water is coming from Akron, Cincinnati and even a prison near Columbus.

Kasich declared a state of emergency for Lucas and Wood counties after contamination was discovered in the Toledo public water system.

Residents in the Toledo area were being warned not to drink or use the water after tests revealed the presence of a toxin possibly related to algae on Lake Erie.

At a press conference Saturday night after 9 p.m., Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins said teams of experts at the local, state and federal level are working on the problem and conducting tests on the water.

The mayor said there are conflicting results.

But at this point it appears they will not be able to clear the water for drinking until at least 6 a.m. Sunday, pending test results from new testing underway by various laboratories including the US. EPA and the Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, MI.

The mayor said, “All we know is that the data is very confusing. We don’t know for sure that these tests are proof positive, but we’re certainly are not taking any chances.”

When the state of emergency was declared, it set off a frenzied hunt for bottled water and bags of ice all over northwest Ohio.

Many stores had been emptied of water within a few hours as people lined up and bought carts full of water.

Toledo issued the warning after tests at one treatment plant showed two sample readings for microsystin above the standard for consumption.

State representative Marcy Kaptur tweeted that FEMA has an incident management team on standby if that state requests their help.

Residents are being told not to boil the water because it will only increase the toxin’s concentration. Consuming the tainted water could result in vomiting, diarrhea and other problems.

Cleveland water is safe to drink and is being closely monitored, according to Cleveland officials.

For tips on what to do if YOUR water is contaminated, click here.