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University of Toledo forms task force to assist on policy issues related to water quality


The University of Toledo announced today it has formed a task force to assist local, state, and federal officials on policy issues affecting water quality, especially that of troubled western Lake Erie.

The University of Toledo Water Task Force was formed in response to this summer's toxic algae bloom that made tap water unsafe for 500,000 customers of the city's water-distribution system, but its scope apparently will not be limited to that.

“As a public research university, Ohio taxpayers and U.S. taxpayers have invested in our researchers focused on the Great Lakes and water quality, in general. We have a tremendous return on that investment to offer, and this task force is an effort to create a single portal that governments and organizations can look to for answers and expertise,” Frank Calzonetti, a geography professor who is UT vice president for government relations and chief of staff to the president, said.

Mr. Calzonetti has been named the task force chairman.

The task force will draw on the expertise of the university’s colleges, the UT Medical Center (formerly known as the Medical College of Ohio), and the UT Lake Erie Center

Another task force member, William Messer, UT vice president for research, said the university's research spans anything from "water treatment, testing and filtration to public health issues, to effects on wildlife to the laws and policies of the Great Lakes."

Interim UT President Nagi Naganathan said the task force falls in line with the university's mission to make "strategic investments in our environmental sciences, environmental engineering and medicine."

Other task force members include April Ames, assistant public health and preventative medicine professor; Thomas Bridgeman, associate environmental sciences professor; Kevin Czajkowski, geography and planning professor; Daryl Dwyer, associate environmental sciences professor and Stranahan Arboretum director; Kevin Egan, associate economics professor; Cyndee Gruden, associate civil engineering professor; Isabel Escobar, chemical and environmental engineering professor and interim associate dean of engineering research, development and outreach; Kenneth Kilbert, law professor and associate law dean for academic affairs; Patrick Lawrence, geography professor and the geography and planning department chairman; Chuck Lehnert, vice president of corporate relations; Neil Reid, urban affairs director and a geography professor; Youngwoo Seo, associate civil engineering professor; Carol Stepien, UT Lake Erie Center director and Distinguished University Professor of ecology; Akira Takashima, medical microbiology and immunology professor and chairman, and Michael Valigosky, assistant public health and preventative medicine professor.

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