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TOLEDO WATER

Shoppers try to avoid last year’s water crisis

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Lynn Duty of Toledo puts packages of bottled water in her car on Tuesday at The Anderson's on Talmadge Road in Toledo, Ohio. The water safety level is at ‘watch.’

THE BLADE/JULIA NAGY
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Lynn Duty was caught off guard during last summer’s water crisis.

Not so this year. “This time I thought I’d better get ahead of the game,” she said.

Mrs. Duty of Sylvania Township was stocking up on water Tuesday after Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson announced that microcystin was detected Monday night in raw water near Toledo’s Lake Erie intake.

“The algae bloom sounds inevitable,” she said after buying two flats of water at The Andersons on Talmadge Road. “It’s growing and getting closer.”

Other Toledoans flocked to area markets in quest of bottled water after the mayor’s Monday night announcement.

Although it was not the same scene of bedlam that overtook Toledo last summer, when an algal bloom compromised the tap water supply and stores ran out of bottled water, markets did experience an increase in bottled water purchases.

Lisa Darrington, who also had trouble finding water last summer, decided to be prepared by getting water from The Andersons.

“I just fear we might be getting some water problems soon. I wanted to get my water case before everyone else,” she said, adding that she has no small children but does have dogs.

RELATED: Algae toxin level drops slightly at Toledo water plant’s intake

DASHBOARD: Current status of Toledo’s water quality

The Andersons confirmed an increase in water sales volume after Monday’s announcement.

“The sale of case bottled water has been brisk this past month and our stores had increased activity on water sales today since the Water Quality Dashboard moved into a ‘watch’ status,” John Hoover, director of marketing and business development for The Andersons, said in a written statement. “We have secured more bottled water inventory this summer than we normally keep on hand and have increased our water sets on the sales floor accordingly.”

Other stores in the area have also upped their water supply since last summer.

“We try and keep a lot of water on hand,” said Kevin Siers, the store manager of Costco on Central Avenue. “We monitor it every day.”

He added that the store saw about a 50 percent increase in water sales after Ms. Hicks-Hudson made her announcement.

On Tuesday, raw water samples were taken from Lake Erie near Toledo’s drinking water intake pipes that showed a slight decrease from Monday in the level of microcystin, which precipitated last summer’s water crisis. The 0.4 parts per billion recorded in Tuesday’s sampling of untreated, raw lake water marked a decrease from the 0.5 parts per billion detected Monday.

In a statement Monday, the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department recommended having 1 gallon of water per person, per day, for a minimum of three to seven days, as well as having water on hand for pets, in case the level of microcystin goes back up and an advisory is declared.

Contact Andrew Koenig at: akoenig@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.

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