Ottawa County helps Toledo prepare a prevention plan against the - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Ottawa County helps Toledo prepare a prevention plan against the toxic algae

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

A few weeks ago Ottawa County residents received a letter in their water bills telling them what they should do if they lose access to their drinking water.

The letter lays out the government recommended emergency water supply that families should have on hand at all times.

The letter was drafted and mailed to residents in response to last years water crisis in Carrol Township where microcystin was found in the tap water.

The fact that the letter was sent out a few days before the water crisis in Toledo is a bit of a timing coincidence, but leaders hope that recent events help people realize the true dangers we all could face from the toxic algae.

"When anything happens, it usually gets a reaction out of people," said Fred Patterson, Ottawa County Emergency Management Director. "It makes it real that it could happen, and hopefully it makes everybody prepare a little bit better."

Like Toledo, the Ottawa County Water Treatment Plant pulls its water from Lake Erie.

In light of recent events in Toledo, Ottawa County is working around the clock to try to prevent a similar water emergency.

New safety redundancies have been put into place at the Ottawa County Regional Water Plant to alert workers immediately of any chemical of mechanical problems through their cell phones. Workers also test the water every four hours.

Ron Wetzel in the Superintendent of the Ottawa County Regional Water Treatment and explains why he is confident in their system.

"Our carbon, our chlorine, our detention time are a huge part of the process of getting these microcystins out of out system," said Wetzel.

The Ottawa plant has been in constant contact with the Toledo plant to help each other solve this water problem.

Kelly Frey an Ottawa County Sanitary Engineer explains the options we have on solving this problem.

"By looking at the science and looking at water treatment, looking at what is here and taking what we have and optimizing we can get to the point where we can feel very confident that we can treat the microcystin," said Frey.

Two options are available to help prevent the microcystin from entering the system. The city could buy million dollar membrane filters, that would cost more money to operate. The second option would be to replace the anthracite in the plant's filters with powered activated carbon.

Frey has proposed to state leaders a plan to use the Ottawa County Plant as a pilot program to test powered activated carbons to find out the proper usage of the product. Frey says that this could optimize the removal of the microcystins and minimize the costs to consumers. 

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