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Water Officials Keeping Close Eye On Lake Erie Toxin Levels

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ERIE—It’s not easy living without running water. People in Toledo, Ohio know first-hand as the city and its surrounding areas have been dry all weekend long.

"People will be here 24/7 until this is resolved," Ohio Governor John Kasich says.

All eyes are pealed on Lake Erie--the region's main source of water. Ohio's EPA is racing against the clock, testing and retesting water samples after high levels of toxins were discovered in their water supply.

Lake Erie is the same body of water we, in the Greater Erie area, use for water every day. Will the toxins make its way east?

"When the algae die, it releases a toxin and sometimes that can be a little dangerous for human consumption,” Paul Vojtek, CEO of Erie Waterworks says. “That's why you want to keep a really close eye on that."

Those toxins are not cleared by Erie's state of the art water filtering system. It's algae that Vojtek and his team keep a pulse on every year.

"Last year, we saw a bit of algae in the bay, but our intakes are about 1.5 miles out into the open waters beyond Presque isle, so it really didn't impact our drinking water,” Vojtek adds. “It did, however, impact our recreational use of the bay at some points last year."

If it does get too close for comfort, there's a master plan in place---a supply of activated carbon on stand-by.

"You can control, to a limited amount, the algae and the toxins with activated carbon,” Vojtek explains. “So we can use a little bit of that too."
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