Algal Blooms -- One Cause of Water Contamination
Toledo, Ohio, experienced a drop in water quality this summer, which led to a drinking ban that lasted for weeks. One of the main problems with water quality is algal blooms. In open water under the hot sun, an overabundance of phosphorous can cause algae to release toxins called microcystins.
In the event of a public water supply issue, an announcement will be sent out alerting the public of a boil advisory or boil notice. A boil advisory recommends that residents boil their water prior to use because of a water main break, and a boil notice notifies residents that there is a problem with test results and water must be boiled.
The chlorine used in water treatment kills any bacteria in water and helps bleach the color of the water so it doesn’t turn brownish. Fluoride is also added to water to prevent tooth decay. There will always be some who complain about the additives, but they are necessary in the process.
“We reduced the amount of fluoride that goes in, probably a year ago. The state allowed the reduction, although they still want it in the water. You have to satisfy both people—the ones who want it and the ones who don’t,” said a member of the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s media relations.