TRANSCRIPT: Mayor Collins' 3 AM press conference - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

TRANSCRIPT: Mayor Collins' 3 AM press conference

At 3 AM Monday morning, Mayor Collins addressed the media regarding the ongoing Toledo Water Crisis.  Here's the transcript:

Mayor Collins:
The united states EPA... those tests all demonstrate that the system is safe
however in this most recent test and this is a very difficult decision
I'm not going to isolate part of the city
and therefore I have instructed our people to go resample and retest
because I'm not going to take any chances with this community's well being and health
so at this time we are still in status quo
the not consume is still in place
it's my decision.
I believe everybody supports me inside on this decision 
we should be able to look at new data in probably 5 to 6 hours
and we will move forward from there.
Reporter: is that to say that part of the system is safe and you don't want to open parts of the system?
Collins: I don't have a complete answer to where that's at and I'm not going to make a decision to expose this city until I can feel I can put my head on a pillow and be comfortable with my decision.
I don't have a complete answer as to where that's it and I'm not going to make a decision to expose the city
Reporter: it's one test result come back negative?
Collins: there were 2. there were nothing that came back negative. but there are 2 tests that came back that are too close for my comfort and they would create an isolated neighborhood if we chose to take that path and I'm taking the path that we are not going to open this up and then chose to chose shut down two neighborhoods
Reporter: where are those neighborhoods?
Collins: I'm not going to answer that question
Reporter: what are the numbers, the levels that concern you now?
Collins: the numbers that concern me are approaching 1.0 and over 1.0.
Reporter: have they been dropping throughout the day?
Collins: the numbers throughout the rest of the city are pretty acceptable
Reporter: are these are just the Toledo numbers but the us and Ohio EPA numbers come back well?
Collins: these are just Toledo numbers the us and Ohio EPA numbers are all, all reports are satisfactory
Reporter: why would you not believe the us and Ohio EPA over Toledo's?
Collins: I, that is my call, and my reason is doing this, it's my call, and I'm not going to do it until I'm convinced that we are right
Reporter: what kind of things have been done at the plant to change these numbers?
Collins: the plant is modified its operations given what the data they have, we have increased the carbon out there, we've done some other things as far as the treatment to the material, to the water, and that has had a positive effect in terms of the quality of the water itself for the purposes of consumption. I don't have an understanding and I don't know why these two areas seem to have, are they anomalies? one could say so, but I don't know that's the truth. so I'm not making the decision to open it up until I'm satisfied.  I believe waiting five hours as a side of caution makes more sense than opening it up and closing it down in the morning.
Reporter: have they consistently been anomalies? or is just the recent testing?
Collins: no. well it, they haven't been consistently anomalies because they haven't been consistently tested.
Reporter: but you've done other tests, were these two?
Collins: in these two areas of the city, the majority of the areas are satisfactory but we still have two spots of concern
Reporter: how many samples are you taking in those two spots?
Collins: in two spots? I'm taking, I'm having them take 3 additional samples
Reporter: are these in customer locations or at the treatment plant?
Collins: these are in the neighborhoods so, I've ordered three additional samples in from each of these neighborhoods, all within of the radius of about 5 or 6 blocks from where the samples were originally taken?
Reporter: can you tell us what neighborhoods?
Collins: no.
Reporter: has there been any further discussion about assistance from the federal level or will that be necessary?
Collins: no. there's no assistance from anybody, we're going to run these new tests and that's it.
Reporter: are you doing 39 more?
Collins: no we are only doing 6.
Reporter: how many tests total?
Collins: we've done 30 tests so far tonight, and of the 30 tests, I'm creating 6 more tests.
Reporter: and 28 have come back positive? or were better?
Collins: 28 have come back reasonably sound. 12 of the 28, of the 30 have come back a very sound position. the balance of the those, with the exception of those two, are all satisfactory, however, the two are not.
Reporter: run those by me again?
Collins: 30 tests. 12 are clean, and the balance, less 2 are all within the acceptable ranges.
Reporter: so of the 18, of the 18 remaining, there's only 2 that are possibly troublesome?
Collins: that's correct.
Reporter: where are these future samples going to go, are they going to be tested here in Toledo or someplace else?
Collins: They will be tested here in Toledo
Reporter: and have you guys decided what you are going to do, about flushing the system yet, if and when you get to the point of you know, lifting this advisory, are people going to be advised to flush their own tap water?
Collins: they are going to be advised to run their own tap water, but I would going to assume, if we're tackling about residential, one would assume there's been shower taken, one would assume, there's been laundry done, there's been all these other things, so I don't think there's an urgency from what we understand, you're not going to have to flush your hot water heaters or any of those things so I don't think that's a major issue.
Reporter: what about at the water plant? will there be flushing there?
Collins: how are you going to flush a water plant?
Reporter: I just heard from someone else, that there could be so flushing there?
Collins: they are not going to flush out our water plant.
Reporter: will there be anything to get back to normal operations that people have to do then other wait for your word for this or do they have to be doing something with flushing?
Collins: we are going to continue our operations with water and we will continue that service for the community and my prayer is by early morning hours we will see light at the end of this tunnel that will give me comfort with this decision, but that light isn't visible to be at this time.
Reporter: are you telling us in these two neighborhoods you have seen the numbers drop, they just haven't dropped sufficiently, so you just want to double check, triple check, quadruple check?
Collins: you could use that as an analogy that would be fair
Reporter: can you explain to people why you thought it was so important to wait until you had all these numbers before releasing any of them?
Collins: I'm sorry, please repeat your question
Reporter: throughout out the day people have been emailing and facebooking, saying they were frustrated that there haven't been updates on the numbers throughout the day. is there a reason?
Collins: what we are going to do with the numbers, tomorrow afternoon at city council, we have a consult committee meeting, were we are going to be discussing sewer rates. before that sewer rates are being discussed we are going be bring all the numbers in, then we are going to explain it to city council, it becomes then public record, obviously, then it's available to the media and will be available at that meeting.
Reporter: when's that going to be? about 2 o'clock?
Collins: that will be at 4 o'clock tomorrow afternoon.
Reporter: that's the committee of the whole meeting? but ugh, so is that the beginning of the whole meeting?
Collins: that's the beginning of the whole meeting. the first piece of that agenda will be explaining to all the council members, not only what we went through for the last over 48 hours, but what those numbers really mean.
Reporter: at the level of the rate of the decrease of toxins do you believe that this next reading will result in the type of reading you'd like to see to end the water alert?
Collins: well that's what I'm hoping to see. that's my prayer. and my prayer tonight is going to be that's where at.
Reporter: do you think there's any reason to temporarily shut down the low surface pumps and do any major and do any major maintenance to the ugh..?
Collins: No.
Collins: Thank you

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