Toledo keeps water restrictions despite favorable tests

The mayor of Toledo, Ohio, is keeping in place an advisory warning hundreds of thousands of residents against drinking the city’s water Monday, despite tests showing it is likely safe to drink.

Mayor Michael Collins said early Monday that tests by state and federal authority showed that levels of algae-induced microcystin had fallen to safe levels after residents of Toledo and surrounding areas were warned not to use water over the weekend, the Toledo Blade reported.

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But Collins said the tests were “too close for comfort for me.” He said he would make the call to lift the water advisory himself when he felt comfortable.

The city did not disclose the results of the tests, but the World Health Organization recommends that drinking water contain one part per billion or less of microcystin. Collins ordered more tests Monday, the Blade said.

Local authorities began warning residents and businesses not to use the water early Saturday, and the area has relied on bottled water since then. Toledo’s water comes from Lake Erie, which is experiencing a seasonal algae bloom, exacerbated by agricultural and sewage runoff.

Microcystin, which comes from algae, made it through the city’s eight-step water treatment process, though authorities have not disclosed the concentration of the toxin that they discovered. The Blade reported that the concentration might have peaked at three parts per billion, three times the World Health Organization’s limit.