Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Toledo Water Crisis 2014

In case you weren't aware, I live in Toledo, Ohio.

Following is my perspective of those three crazy days where we could not use our water.

I posted this to my Facebook page - August 4, 2014:

I've had quite a weekend - It's hard to believe that in this day and age - people still think it's OK to let their pesticide and cow feces run off into a body of water used to support hundreds of thousands of people. But, here in the lovely state of Ohio, USA that is exactly what has been happening and it finally caught up with us.

I grew up in Pennsylvania and always remembered hearing my dad say that the Ohio river - or maybe it was the Shenango river - either way ~~> (which leaves PA for a spell, goes through Ohio then comes back into PA) was always more polluted at the point where it returned to PA - so, this is an Ohio issue that HOPEFULLY will wake up the powers that be.

As a result, we have amazing water treatment facilities that have been very concerned about the algae in our pocket of Lake Erie. This past weekend the algae turned the water into a toxic cocktail that even the water treatment facility couldn't fix. Which has left 400,000 people in NW Ohio without drinkable [or usable] water. We CAN"T EVEN BOIL it because boiling increases the toxins.

A beautiful positive in all this is seeing the good side of humanity - all of the people who have stepped up to get drinkable water to those who can't get it - all of the people from the surrounding area who aren't affected leaving out their garden hoses so people can fill containers - people offering to let strangers come to their homes to shower and do laundry (which, as of yesterday, we can now do).

Yes, there were a few stories floating around about fights over water when this all first happened and price gauging - Like any city - Toledo gets real "ghetto" at times - but the positives have far outweighed the negatives.

My family and friends are fine. My sister and I drove to a town 2 hours south of here [Lima, OH] and bought an insane amount of water to distribute to family, friends and neighbors, when this all first happened - and so did many others.

[Above] is a photo of what the pollution has done to our end of Lake Erie and a photo of the 10,000 gallons of water the Air National Guard brought in yesterday.

The EPA says the water is fine now, but the tests our water treatment facility have run still show cause for concern, so our mayor is erring on the side of caution.

In the meantime, I am truly blessed, have plenty of water - waiting for this to be over and looking forward to the changes in environmental policy and farming practices that will come as a result of this.


A few hours after I posted this, the ban was lifted.  My body told me it was all fixed when I washed some dishes that morning and my joints didn't lock up afterwards, so I wasn't surprised when the town got the good news.

We Did Have Some Fun...

On Sunday afternoon we received word that healthy adults could shower (no children or elderly), but that we couldn't get the water in our ears, eyes, nose or mouth.

My friend, Jeff Beach, cheered us all up on Facebook with this photo.

He labeled it "Just showered #toledowater" and after much persuasion from yours truly (and his mom ;~D ), he submitted it to a local news station and it made the evening news!

Ironically, the day before this all happened, I had been thinking about how lucky I was to have lived so close to Lake Erie my whole life and that I didn't have to worry about my water, like the people in California are dealing with this summer.

If you're interested, this is a great article/comic about what happened and how long its been going on.

Love and hugs,

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