The blue-green alga causing consternation throughout the state this summer has been found in the drinking water of two communities in northwest Ohio.
Tests conducted last week by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency found small amounts of microcystin in the drinking water of the Lucas County city of Oregon and in Carroll Township of Ottawa County.
Microcystin was found to be in the treated waters in Oregon at 0.23 part per billion and 0.16 part per billion in Carroll Township.
Those numbers are well below the 1.0 part per billion drinking water guidelines established by the World Health Organization.
Algal toxins in drinking water are not currently regulated by the Ohio EPA nor the U.S. EPA, and drinking water with those toxins could result in abnormal liver function, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, or numbness.
But the amounts found in the two communities was so low that neither the EPA nor the Ohio Department of Health has instituted advisories, and officials say water can be used for drinking, bathing, cooking, and all other uses.
"The EPA made it clear to us that the water was safe, and we reviewed the steps we were taking in our water treatment facilities, and we're going to continue to monitor it," Oregon Administrator Mike Beazley said Saturday.
"We feel good about our water supply. We had a retest on Friday, and we expect it to come up with no detectable traces, but we'll have to wait and see," Mr. Beazley said.
"It will continue to be an environmental challenge for some time to come," he said.
The tests conducted by the Ohio EPA of 11 public drinking water systems that draw their source water from Lake Erie's western basin, where the blue-green algae is present, were the second such round of tests.
In addition to Oregon and Carroll Township, testing was conducted in Ottawa County, Marblehead, Kelleys Island, Put-in-Bay, Middle Bass Island, Sandusky, and Huron.
As for Put-in-Bay, an extra 60,000 gallons a day of water is being shipped to the island by ferry from the mainland every day because the troublesome algae blooms have hampered the water plant's ability to produce as much clean drinking water as it usually does.
The village on South Bass Island is not running out of water, officials said, but the algae means water takes longer to treat.
This report includes information from the Associated Press.
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