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5 Toledo councilmen announce plans to push ahead with a study that could off-load Toledo water system

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Toledo councilman Lindsay Webb, flanked by councilmen from left, Larry Sykes, Mike Craig, Steven Steel, and Paula Hicks-Hudson, announces her intent to pursue a regional water authority during a news conference at One Government Center.

THE BLADE/ DAVE ZAPOTOSKY
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A group of five Toledo councilmen announced plans today to push ahead with a study that could off-load Toledo’s water system onto a city-county board.

Councilman Lindsay Webb said she’s ready to spend $175,000 from the water systems funds to pay for the city’s share of the study.

The study would spell out the action steps needed to convert Toledo’s city-owned water system into a public board that would be operated by Lucas County and the city.

Lucas County put up its $175,000 last week.

What this means for Toledo water district rate-payers is not known for sure. Toledo treats and distributes water for city residents and nearly as many residents who live outside the city boundaries.

“We have passed rate increases that will begin the improvements at Collins Park [water treatment plant] so we are in a strong position to negotiate our interests and to take care of some of the concerns raised by Toledo ratepayers and what we have invested in our system,” Ms. Webb said.

“Regional water will undoubtedly lead to greater regional cooperation and probably strong economic development throughout the region,” Ms. Webb said. “It’s time to revisit how we deliver our water system.”

Ms. Webb chairs council’s utilities committee. She was joined by fellow Democratic council members Larry Sykes, Mike Craig, Steve Steel, and Paula Hicks-Hudson.

Toledo’s water system has come under scrutiny after it was forced to issue a do-not-drink order Aug. 2 because tests indicated unsafe water because of a harmful algae bloom in Lake Erie. The order was lifted two days later.

Ms. Webb said the city has been working on a possible regional water district since 2010. It would be created as outlined in Section 6119 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Contact Tom Troy at: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058 and on Twitter @TomFTroy.
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