Friday, Dec 09, 2016
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FEMA 'on standby' to respond to Toledo water crisis

Steve Fought, an aide to U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), said a conference call was planned for early afternoon involving Miss Kaptur, U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green), U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) and representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Governor Kasich‘‍s office.

FEMA had an emergency-response team “on standby” to respond to Toledo but needed a gubernatorial request for aid before it could be dispatched, Mr. Fought said.

”The governor has to request assistance first,” he said. “We were in communication with them [FEMA] quite early this morning.”

Joe Andrews, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Public Safety, said the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections had converted its milk-bottling plant near Columbus to package drinking water in large bladders -- the kind typically used milk dispensers in restaurants.

The Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio National Guard will deliver that water to the Toledo area for distribution as directed by local authorities, Mr. Andrews said.

The state mounted a similar effort for the Ohio River city of Gallipolis, Ohio when its water system developed problems in early June, he noted.

“Of course, this is going to be on a much larger scale, though hopefully not for as long -- that [the Gallipolis crisis] lasted for five days,” Mr. Andrews said.

State officials have also asked other distributors, such as Kroger and other grocery companies, to divert water shipments to Toledo if possible, he said.

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