The Toledo water plant’s increased use of chemicals to treat the water for microcystin toxin are responsible for unusual characteristics city customers may be noticing in the water, a Collins administration spokesman said Saturday.
The statement from spokesman Lisa Ward also said that the microcystin level in treated water at the Collins Park plant approached, but did not quite reach, the 1 part per billion threshold at which a do-not-drink order would have been issued before chemical treatment increased and cut the reading by more than half.
Ms. Ward did not say when the sample for which a 0.972 part per billion test result was received had been taken. Increased use of chlorine treatment afterward may cause a slight chlorine odor, Mayor D. Michael Collins’ spokesman said, while increased alum in the treated water is to blame for a “harmless” surface film people may observe on water in cups or containers.
“While the water is safe to consume, we wanted the public to be aware that we are dealing with an algal bloom situation and that since a test showed above .5 parts per billion, the Ohio EPA has been notified,” Ms. Ward wrote. “We will continue to closely monitor the level of microcystin and the levels of chemicals needed to provide safe drinking water.”
Larry Vasko, deputy commissioner of the Lucas County Health Department, said the 0.456 part per billion test result obtained after stepped-up water treatment came from samples tested Saturday afternoon. At that time, he said, raw-water samples from Toledo’s intake crib tested at 50 parts per billion for microcystin, a toxin emitted by blue-green microcystis algae that have bloomed in western Lake Erie for several weeks.
Tests taken on the evening of Aug. 1 and early morning of Aug. 2 at the Toledo water plant showed microcystin exceeding 1 part per billion in the treated water, which prompted officials to issue a do-not-drink order than remained in effect until mid-morning Aug. 4.