(Press Release) - On Wednesday, Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) wrote to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy seeking additional information about the presence of harmful algae blooms in the Great Lakes and the threat to drinking water supplies.
In August, elevated levels of microcystin, a bacteria released from algae blooms, was found in the water supply of Toldeo, resulting in a temporary tap water ban. Since this incident, the committee has met with EPA officials to be briefed on the situation and is considering solutions to help protect public drinking water.
The committee leaders wrote, "A recent water emergency in Toledo, Ohio left 500,000 people, including families, hospitals, and businesses, unable to utilize drinking water provided by the public water system without risking negative health effects. We are deeply concerned by any threat to the water supply, and we appreciate the time and information your agency has devoted as we seek answers. ..."
The letter includes a series of questions for the EPA about the threat of microcystin and the agency's plans to address it, including plans to release a health advisory on microcystin-LR sometime next spring.
The letter continues, "Drinking water systems must be able to efficiently and cost-effectively monitor and treat harmful algal contaminants, not only in the Great Lakes, but also in other communities using surface water as their source water. These are imperatives for public safety and health."
To read the full letter to the EPA, click HERE.