Some international students attending the University of Toledo in Ohio woke up one morning to an unusual situation. They were now allowed to use or drink the water.
During the first weekend in August 2014 a water crisis went into effect that left more than 500,000 people without water in the greater Toledo area. People were not allowed to use water for two and a half days and water sold out within minutes at all the local stores.
What made the water unsafe to use?
It was a large, toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie, where the city pulls its water. The toxin in the algae, called microcystin, can damage the liver and cause diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, and even nerve damage.
Officials said the algal blooms began within the past 12 years, but just until recent years the blooms started to get worse. The water treatment plants are not yet equipped to deal with the change.
Now federal lawmakers have stepped in, creating new legislation that says the EPA (The United States Environmental Projection Agency) is required to report to congress on what progress is being made on setting standards for microcystins and the EPA now has to provide a health advisory to residents within a certain period of time. It’s not much, but it’s a start.
Sarah Naji Alyasiri, ISV Correspondent spoke with international students about how they were affected by the water crisis in Toledo, Ohio.
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Sarah Naji Alyasiri
ISV Ambassador and Correspondent