Image waking up on a lazy summer Saturday. It is rainy. As you reach for the coffee pot you check your texts or turn on the television. A warning flashes to not drink or touch the water. A water advisory that later turned into a state of emergency for over half a million people was issued. That is how my family was greeted this morning. Although it doesn't directly affect me, as we have a well, it has caused havoc for people and business throughout northwest Ohio and southern Monroe County in Michigan. An algae bloom caused toxins to form in our beloved Lake Erie western basin. The toxins are concentrated when the water is boiled. Consumption by humans and animals must be avoided.
The City of Toledo sent out a warning at 2:15 this morning. By 8:30 AM most grocery stores, carry outs, or national chains did not have any water. Citizens panicked and hoarded any water that could be found. Restaurants were closed unless they can guarantee "no water use" will be maintained. Dishes and clothing are not to be washed in the water. Neighboring cities that are not affected are filling bottles at fire and police stations. Restaurants in the far outlying areas are being overrun with customers, including hubby's. Water is being sent by truckloads, being diverted from other areas.
Ironically, it continues to rain off and on. The rain has no effect on the algae bloom. The water temperature and wind direction do. There is virtually no wind today. We need a strong southwest wind to blow the pea-green algae out into the lake where colder temps will help it disperse.
Why should you care? The Great Lakes provide so much of the drinking water for millions of people. Neurotoxin that form here can form in freshwater throughout the world. Runoff from farms and industry, faulty septic systems, etc. lead to the algae blooms. This should send a message to all of us, that we need to look into ways to safeguard our natural resources before the "well" goes dry.