A great deal of changing information was reported regarding Toledo's water crisis in 2014. During the crisis, long-awaited tests finally showed microcystin, a toxin caused by algae blooms, in the water system. This led to as many as 400,000 people being told they were not to consume, cook with or even boil the tap water from Saturday, Aug. 2 through the night of Monday, Aug. 4.
Several locations around the city were designated as water distribution centers. About 350 Ohio National Guardsmen were activated by Gov. John Kasich, and the Guardsmen, along with fire officials and first responders, handed out safe water at the distribution centers.
Here's a timeline of how events unfolded, beginning early Saturday, August 2:
SATURDAY, AUG. 2, 2014
2 a.m. - The City of Toledo issues a "Do Not Drink" notice, warning residents to not drink the water, boil it or bathe in it because of an algae bloom in Lake Erie contaminating the city's water supply.
6 a.m. - Representatives for Lucas County confirm they're affected by the contamination
7 a.m. - The City of Oregon issues a statement saying they're unaffected by the contamination
7-9 a.m. - Dozens of other areas confirm they too are affected, and put in place a "Do Not Drink" advisory
10 a.m. - Oregon fire departments begin offering free water to people who bring containers
10:45 a.m. - Lucas County Health Department says it's safe to bathe, but maintains Do Not Drink or boil advisory
11 a.m. - Parts of Fulton county added to list of places affected
11:45 a.m. - Mayor Collins addresses the media and announces distribution centers at Waite, Central Catholic. He says samples of the contaminated water have been sent to Columbus, Cincinnati, Lake Superior State for testing and results are expected Saturday night around 5-7 PM.
12 p.m. - Governor Kasich declares a state of emergency
12:15 p.m. - Lucas County Health Department urges restaurants to close
2 p.m. - Health Commissioner Dave Grossman says "this is the beginning, not the end"
3 p.m. - Water distribution is scheduled at Waite and Central Catholic High School at 5 and 6 PM
3:30 p.m. - Promedica spokesperson says 60 people at Toledo hospital with gastroenterological problems"
8 p.m. - Mayor Collins says water results delayed to 9 PM
8 p.m. - National Guard arrives with water at Woodward high school
8 p.m. - Mayor Collins says testing showed two different results from water tests
9 p.m. - City Spokesperson Lisa Ward says no test results from EPA will be given Saturday due to lack of sampling material
10 p.m. - Mayor Collins says he expects to receive all results at 7 am Sunday
10 p.m. - Health Commissioner says people with sensitive skin, liver problems should not bathe in contaminated water
SUNDAY, AUG. 3, 2014
10 a.m. - Mayor Collins says Governor Kasich will arrive in Ohio around 1 PM
11 a.m. - Mayor Collins says "everything is trending in a positive direction," still waiting on confirmed results
11 a.m. - Cherry Street Mission runs out of water
1 p.m. - Health Department says people will need to flush their water system once water is cleared
1:45 p.m. - Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur says no results have been received yet, should arrive around 4 PM
2 p.m. - State Emergency Center says still waiting on results to come in
3 p.m. - Head of Utilities says city will not shut off water
3:30 p.m. - Gov. Kasich says we've seen improvement in the water, need more confirmation
4 p.m. - Waite high school runs out of water, expects shipment around 4:45 PM
4 p.m. - Air National Guard arrives at UT Scott park campus with 10,000 gallons
5 p.m. - No results yet reported from water testing
MONDAY, AUG. 4, 2014
7:30 a.m. - Water advisory still in effect
9:55 a.m. - Water users advised to not flush their water systems unless they haven't used taps since Friday.
7:40 p.m. - Water advisory is lifted
TUESDAY, AUG. 5, 2014
4 p.m. - Mayor Collins holds a news conference and asks residents to conserve water for four days. Repairs are needed at the water plant.
- ALL of Lucas County
- Parts of Fulton County (excluding Swanton)
- Perrysburg Township
- Bedford Township
- Troy Township
- Lake Township
- Ottawa Hills
- Erie Township
- Village of Metamora
- Eastern Swan Creek Township
- Village of Whitehouse
- Luna Pier
- La Salle Township
- Springfield Township
- Sylvania Township
- South County Water Customers - Michigan
At the time, the instructions from the city of Toledo were:
DO NOT DRINK THE WATER. Alternative water should be used for drinking, making infant formula, making ice, brushing teeth and preparing food. Pets should not drink the water.
DO NOT BOIL THE WATER. Boiling the water will not destroy the toxins – it will increase the concentration of the toxins.
Consuming water containing algal toxins may result in abnormal liver function, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, numbness or dizziness. Seek medical attention if you feel you have been exposed to algal toxins and are having adverse health effects. Skin contact with contaminated water can cause irritation or rashes. Contact a veterinarian immediately if pets or livestock show signs of illness.
What happened? What is being done?
Lake Erie, which is a source of drinking water for the Toledo water system may have been impacted by a harmful algal bloom (HAB). These organisms are capable of producing a number of toxins that may pose a risk to human and animal health. HABs occur when excess nitrogen and phosphorus are present in lakes and streams. Such nutrients can come from runoff of over-fertilized fields and lawns, from malfunctioning septic systems and from livestock pens.
Additional monitoring is being conducted and we will let you know when the situation has been resolved or if additional precautions should be taken. The water system is running additional tests to verify the severity of the microcystin levels in our water supply.