“Our water is safe,” Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins told reporters on Monday (August 4) before drinking a glass of tap water at a press conference to announce the lifting of the ban.
Officials still cautioned residents to cut back on non-essential water use, and urged home and business owners to flush their lines to clear any residual toxins in the lines.
Although algal blooms occur in Lake Erie every summer, they became particularly dangerous this year. “Weather conditions made it such that bloom was going right into the water intakes,” Jeffrey Reutter, head of the Ohio Sea Grant research lab, told the Associated Press. This was compounded by the fact that phosphorus levels in the lake have been climbing since the mid-1990s. “We’re right back to where we were in the ’70s,” when Lake Erie was considered heavily polluted, Reutter added.