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Thursday, July 31, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 3/3/2013

City should focus on water woes

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Toledo officials are talking about raising water rates to pay for the rising costs of the water treatment system at Collins Park (“Realism on water rates,” editorial, Feb. 6). It is time for Toledo to begin talks with state officials about the algae problem in Lake Erie and its cost to taxpayers.

The cost of purifying water contaminated by algae blooms in Lake Erie is about $3,000 to $4,000 a day. A hefty portion of these blooms originate from phosphorus overloads flowing to the Maumee River from farms in northwest Ohio.

Toledo has grounds for challenging Ohio to do something about these blooms. One of the primary causes of the phosphorus loads in Lake Erie is the dumping of manure on frozen ground during winter months.

The Grand Lake St. Marys watershed in Auglaize and Mercer counties has been designated a distressed watershed. Farmers have to apply for permission to dump manure on frozen ground.

Ohio needs to ban the application of manure on frozen ground. Toledo needs to give this initiative a push.

ANTHONY SZILAGYE
Board Member Lake Erie Waterkeeper Inc. Rossford

Landlords, tenants should be wary

Your Feb. 8 article “Many council water critics have unpaid, past-due bills; Bell: Some have paid late or received shut-off warnings” includes comments by a Toledo landlord that should give pause to residential tenants and landlords.

In the article, the landlord explains that if the renter does not pay him for water used, then he does not pay the water bill. He uses the shut-off notice as leverage to get the tenant to pay.

Tenants should read their leases carefully, especially about who pays the utility bills.

In general, Ohio courts have found that when a tenant has agreed to pay the water bill, the landlord does not have to pay it for him. Because you cannot live in a dwelling without water, a shut-off is effectively the same as an eviction and can come even more quickly.

Landlords should be cautioned not to use utility shutoffs, change locks, block access, or seize tenant property to force a tenant to leave, or to punish tenants for nonpayment of rent or other violations of the lease. Ohio law allows victims of predatory landlord tactics to bring suit for a restraining order, money damages, and attorney fees.

Tenants and landlords who wish to know more about their legal rights and responsibilities should contact an attorney.

GLENN INGERSOLL
Ida, Mich.
Editor’s note: The writer is a retired attorney.

Water bill debts by officials wrong

How can some Toledo City Council members get away with owing money on their water bills?

If it were me or any other nongovernment person, our water would be turned off after a few months. We would never be able to get so far behind. What is going to happen about it?

JANET CRAIG
Malden Avenue



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