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Toledo water ban lifted as mayor hopes crisis spurs environmental action

"We have not been good stewards of this natural resource," laments Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins.

By
Matt Bradwell

TOLEDO, Ohio, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- The mayor of Toledo lifted a county-wide water ban, saying water from Lake Erie is again safe to drink and no longer shows signs of contamination.

"Our water is safe," Mayor D. Michael Collins declared Monday, allowing the 400,000 Toledo-area residents to use their tap water, after toxins were detected Friday, triggering Gov. John Kasich to declare a state of emergency.

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Although no illnesses were reported, the threat of microcystis, a toxin resulting from algae bloom in Lake Erie, was so great that residents were asked to not even boil water or give it to their pets, creating bottled water shortages at area retailers.

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Earlier Monday, Collins said most of the water supply was under control and drinkable, but two neighborhoods remained affected. Those areas now read "non-detectable" levels of microcystis.

Residents are asked to run their water for 15 minutes before resuming normal consumption and use.

"We have not been good stewards of this natural resource," Collins said, pointing a finger at community waste runoff as causing the algae growth in Lake Erie and urging lawmakers to take action on environmental policy.

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"It's time to stop talking about this western basin of Lake Erie, and start doing something about it. The politics must stop."

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