The Lima News
People have suddenly become interested in their local water supply.
Nobody wants to be the next Toledo, where nearly a half million people were told last weekend they couldn’t use city water to drink, bathe or even brush their teeth.
In Lima, we’ve known for years that our five reservoirs provide most of Allen County with a healthy water supply.
Still, it was pretty cool to hear why that’s so. Deputy Utilities Director Mike Caprella proudly told The Lima News the city has a “granular activated carbon system” that acts like a sponge as it soaks up algae from the water. There’s also a series of filtration measures. Everything is backed up in case of an emergency and maintenance is regularly scheduled.
“You never say ‘never,’ but we are well-placed to be able to treat for anything,” said Caprella, stopping just short of saying the system was bullet-proof.
Toledo’s drinking water ban was lifted Monday, but the toxic algae plumes that caused the problem remain in Lake Erie. They are a product of intensive farming, animal confinements, urbanization and industrialization.
Unless water quality improves on Lake Erie, the problem Toledo encountered could potentially affect 11 million residents living along the lake. Similar problems also exists in states like Iowa, Minnesota and California as well as regions such as Cape Cod, the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
A federal commitment to a multi-state effort is essential, and it’s refreshing to see that U.S. Sen. Rob Portman has been at the forefront of the issue. A bill he co-authored with Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida continues federal research on harmful algae blooms, to the tune of $102.5 million during the next five years.
Portman, by the way, is a Republican and Nelson is a Democrat. So, it goes to show you good things can come out of Washington when partisanship is put aside for the good of the people.