Water ban for some in SE Michigan prohibits drinking, bathing due to Toledo, Ohio water emergency

MONROE COUNTY, Mich. (WXYZ) - Officials in Ohio say they expect to have the latest round of test results on Toledo's water by Monday around 8 a.m. 

UPDATE: The water ban has been lifted. Click here for complete details.

Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins held a press conference Monday around 2 a.m. to announce that the Ohio EPA and federal EPA tests appear to be clear of mycrosystin.

The testing showed most of the city’s water as satisfactory, but two areas show some levels too close to lift ban. The mayor says entire ban is still in place until more results come back. 

It is still unclear how long it will be until the water that is already in the system would be safe to use.

Contaminated water from the Toledo water system forced an emergency ban on water usage in both that city and several southeast Michigan communities within Monroe County.

The warning applies to those whose water comes from the Collin Park Water Treatment Plant in Toledo, through the South County Water Agreement. In Michigan, this includes the cities of Bedford, La Salle, Erie and Luna Pier.

Saturday morning, officials said the water should not be used for drinking or bathing. It should also not be given to pets. The problem cannot be corrected by boiling the water, as this will only make the problem worse. Water filters, such as Brita, will not help remove the contamination.

The ban is for an indefinite period of time. Water distribution sites have been set up where residents can get drinkable water.

The Red Cross has set up a special hotline that home bound people can call to arrange a water delivery. That number is (734) 243-8600. The phone lines will be open until 8:00 p.m. Sunday.

Test show that the water has high amounts of microcystin, a cyanotoxin that can cause abnormal liver function, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, numbness or dizziness.  Skin contact with contaminated water can cause irritation or rashes.

Anyone who is showing any signs of having had contact with the contaminated water should contact a doctor immediately. You should contact a veterinarian if any pets or livestock show signs of illness.

Officials say Lake Erie, which is the source of drinking water for Toledo, has been impacted by a harmful algal bloom. These occur when excess nitrogen and phosphorus are present in lakes and streams.

Officials will continue to test the water until levels return to normal.

The situation has resulted in Ohio's governor declaring a state of emergency that is affecting 400,000 people in northwest Ohio.

WTVG, the Toledo ABC affiliate, is reporting  that the Toledo Zoo, which was closed yesterday because of the situation, is open today. However, not all animals are on exhibit and the zoo's restaurants are closed.

All city of Toledo pools are also closed.

Officials also warn people who may have plans in the area affected by the water problems to call ahead and make sure the facility is open.

Many stores in and around Toledo have run out of bottles water. The governor's order will allow the state to bring water into the Toledo area.

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