Toledo's water crisis now in the hands of federal lawmakers

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur says she has not forgotten about the algal bloom that has plagued northwest Ohio's water.

In fact, the democrat has been working with Ohio's two senators on new legislation announced Wednesday, cracking down on the US EPA.

Kaptur Spokesman Steve Fought says Kaptur along with Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman have introduced a house bill directing the federal EPA to publish a health advisory on microcystin and to submit reports on what constitutes a safe level of the toxin in drinking water.

"What this would do is put us on the path to standards where the federal government says if it's above 'X' level, maybe it's 1-part, maybe its lower, then it's not safe for drinking the water," said Fought. "That standard doesn't exist right now."

Fought says the legislation basically tells the EPA they have a certain amount of time to provide a health advisory and give the information to residents.

The EPA would also be required to report back to congress on what progress they're making on setting standards for microcystins or toxic algae.

UT Professor Dr. Isabel Escobar, a Lake Erie expert, says this type of bill is absolutely necessary for the health of the public, especially since currently there are no US EPA standards.

"There are a lot of algal toxins and even though this time nobody really had any severe adverse health effect, people have died from this," said Escobar.

Accord to Kaptur's spokesman the bill could possibly move forward by the end of the year.

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