Toledo's Water Is Now Safe to Drink, but the Causes Behind Its Toxicity Linger

After a weekend ban, 400,00 residents can safely turn their faucets back on. But the Great Lakes as a water source are still in bad shape. 

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Following a press conference on Mon. Aug. 4, Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins drinks a glass of tap water. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Toledo has drinkable water again. The weekend's tap water ban, which left 400,000 residents in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan without water to drink or shower with, was lifted Monday by Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins, according to the Associated Press

"Our water is safe," Collins said during a press conference Monday. Officials told residents to flush out their water systems but also wait to water their lawns or wash their cars to keep the system from being over extended. 

As we noted Saturday, the water ban was issued on then after officials found large amounts of toxins, possibly from algae in Lake Erie, in tap water. Over the weekend people were forced to wait in line for hours to get water, either from stores or from the Ohio National Guard, which passed out bottles at stations around the city. On Sunday Gov. John Kasich said that officials were waiting on a positive water analysis from the Environmental Protection Agency before lifting that ban. 

"I want to make sure that I would be comfortable with my family—my daughters and my wife—drinking the water,” Kasich said according to The New York Times. “When I’m comfortable with that, then I think we’re in a position where we can say to the people here in Toledo that we feel good about it, and we can move forward.”

But while Toledo's water is safe now, the weekend's water ban has raised concern over the algae blooms that caused the toxins. They were brought on by years of farm run off and sewage plant materials entering the Great Lakes. “We have not been good stewards of that natural resource," Collins said. "People are finally waking up to the fact that this is not acceptable." 

This post originally appeared on The Wire, an Atlantic partner site.

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