Harmful algae blooms causing high levels of microcystin in Lake Erie resulted in a drinking water ban for the entire city of Toledo, Ohio. More than 400,000 residents were affected by the ban over the weekend, after testing showed high levels of the toxin.
The city responded quickly by deploying about 350 Ohio National Guard members to assist with setting up potable water distribution centers, and giving out safe water and ready-to-eat meals.
According to reports, algae blooms during the summer are more frequent around the western end of Lake Erie; however, farm runoff and sewage treatment plants also can contribute to algae growth.
Incidents like this help drive awareness of how critical source water protection is for public health. To ensure that we have enough clean water for generations to come, we need to protect sources by managing the influences on them on a watershed basis.