State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) joined local officials and conservation groups today to discuss ways to maintain momentum in the fight to protect the region’s drinking water. The collaborative event, which included a boat tour of Lake Erie to view conditions on the lake, comes one year after more than 400,000 people were left without safe drinking water for nearly three days because of a harmful algal bloom in Western Lake Erie.
“State officials must make the right decisions now to ensure safe water for drinking and recreation,” said Fedor. “Nearly 500,000 people were left without safe drinking water last year due to dangerous pollution caused by high levels of phosphorous runoff. While positive steps have been taken, I urge the governor to declare the Maumee Watershed a “distressed watershed” in order to further abate the threats to Toledo’s drinking water.”
The distressed designation would trigger more stringent regulations for the storage, handling and application of chemicals and fertilizers throughout the area. High phosphorus levels in manure and other chemical fertilizers contributed to the region’s algal bloom problems last year, increasing microcystin levels to dangerous levels.
Earlier this week, Toledo officials upgraded the city’s water quality status from “clear” to “watch” after the dangerous toxin was detected in water near intake mechanisms that draw Toledo’s drinking water from Lake Erie.