No folks, this isn’t your typical little water main break with a “boil water” advisory. I was awakened at 5am today by a robocall from my city, a suburb of Toledo, advising me of a water crisis. It was pretty much a “touch or ingest tap water and you will die” sort of crisis.
When turning on the TV the cause of this crisis is a pesky toxin named microcystin which can and is produced by algae blooms. Toledo and her surrounding suburbs and parts of southern Michigan get their water from Lake Erie. The warning started out earlier with “do not drink, do not do dishes, do not wash your hands, do not bathe, do not use for cooking or cleaning of food” and the most unusual warning of all: do not boil because heat apparently makes this toxin even stronger.
The warning a few hours ago dropped the “do not bathe” caveat if one is a healthy adult. And I must say I took a shower and I’m still alive. Microcystin can cause skin rashes, and if ingested can affect the liver and cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Bottled water started flying off the shelves and for about 100 miles around this is what grocery stores, gas stations and any other place that sells water or pop looks like:
When word got out a truckload was coming to a grocery store in Toledo sometime this afternoon, people started lining up and cops are supervising since tempers are getting hot, even though it’s a pleasant 68 degrees here. My first question is why don’t people have at least a case of bottled water in their homes? The next question is don’t people realize water can be obtained from a lot of other sources other than a bottle? Milk, prepared juices, canned fruits and vegetables, fresh fruits especially watermelon, berries and cantaloupe. Just remember folks: caffeine and alcohol dehydrate so avoid them unless you want to be even thirstier.
And just like CNN did with the missing Malaysian plane, meaning non-stop coverage, WTOL, the CBS affiliate in Toledo has gone non-stop with no commercials since I got up this morning.
The area economy is going to take a substantial hit since restaurants have to close because their is no water for dish washing and preparing food. Also the Toledo Zoo and other major public venues are closed.
All this seemed to me to be somewhat of an over-reaction because after all, algae blooms happen all the time and just not on Lake Erie. And not one death or illness has been reported even though I was one of the many who drank this tainted water before I even knew about the “warning.” And this wasn’t like a light switch: one minute it’s on, the next second it’s completely off. This had to have happened over a period of time so we were all probably drinking some level of this toxin for awhile.
So why are the hairs on the back of my neck standing at attention? This caught my eye on Toledo’s ABC coverage:
Lake Erie, which is a source of drinking water for the Toledo water system may have been impacted by a harmful algal bloom (HAB). These organisms are capable of producing a number of toxins that may pose a risk to human and animal health. HABs occur when excess nitrogen and phosphorus are present in lakes and streams. Such nutrients can come from runoff of over-fertilized fields and lawns, from malfunctioning septic systems and from livestock pens. [Emphasis mine].
Yea, well, the EPA and FEMA are now involved which says it all. We know Obama’s EPA and other agencies are after the farmers, ranchers, kids’ carwashes, cow farts, coal, oil, natural gas, gold mining, uranium mining, bald eagles and everything else except solar and wind energy.
A trial balloon to see how people react in a “water crisis”? Nothing would surprise me any more. This is expected to go on for a couple days so if tempers are flaring now, let’s see what tomorrow brings. Ohio’s Governor Kasich has called in the National Guard to bring in and distribute water.
At least for now that’s their only duty.
And please folks, learn a lesson from this. Keep some bottled water at home.