Toledo water crisis reaches day three

Toledo water crisis reaches day three
Water headed to the Toledo area. (Source: WOIO)
Water headed to the Toledo area. (Source: WOIO)

TOLEDO, OH (WOIO) - It has been a long weekend for some 400,000 people in and around the Toledo area told not to drink the tap water because it could make them sick and even kill their pets.

The YMCA never looked so good to people told not to drink from or shower with Toledo's public water.

Toledo residents signed in at the YMCA in Oregon, which has clean water and is just outside of Toledo to take care of the basics.

The problem started early Saturday morning when high levels of the toxin microcystin were found in Toledo's drinking water believed to have come from near by farm fertilizer that ran off into Lake Erie. It caused the harmful algae bloom that can sicken people and kill pets if they drink the tap water and that makes like difficult for people like Loretta Shirk.

"Have to use bottle water to cook or eat cold cuts," Shirk said.

The governor declared a state of emergency, the National Guard was called to help out and at least eight watering stations were set up including this one yesterday just north of downtown Toledo.

The algae bloom problem is apparently restricted to Lake Erie's western side again because of all the agricultural run off, posing no threat though to Lake Erie's central basin where more than a million people get their drinking water in the Cleveland area.

No consolation to Lemar Skipper Jr. living in Toledo.

"When we were home we didn't want to shower and get itchy or something," Skipper said.

In fact Shirk admits the Toledo water crisis has gotten the best of her imagination.

"Seen too many TV shows where something like this happens and people go crazy looking for water," Shirk said. "Scary."

There have been no reports of civil unrest, only impatient crowds made up of thirsty but orderly people.

Toledo's mayor D. Michael Collins says if anything positive comes from this it is the way people have responded and helped each other.

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