People residing in a large portion of northwestern Ohio no longer have access to drinking water after a potentially dangerous toxin was discovered in one of the area’s water treatment facilities on Friday night.
A few hours after the contamination made the news, Ohio Governor John Kasich declared a state of emergency for the counties of Lucas, Wood, and Fulton. Governor Kasich then deployed the National Guard to help bring drinkable water to the area.
State agencies are reportedly working around the clock to bring drinkable waters and other needed supplies to areas around Toledo, Ohio’s fourth largest city, while also assisting hospitals and other business that are being impacted.
“What’s more important than water? Water’s about life,” Kasich said. “We know it’s difficult. We know it’s frustrating.”
Samples of the contaminated water were flown to a university in Michigan as well as the state environmental Protection Agency offices in Cincinnati and Columbus for additional testing. Governor Kasich said it was too early to say how long the water advisory will remain or what toxins were found in the drinking water.
“We don’t really want to speculate on this,” Kasich told The Associated Press. “When it comes to this water, we’ve got be very careful.”
News of the contaminated water sparked a shopping frenzy in the affected areas as people rushed to stock up on bottled water and bags of ice. As residents prepared for the worst, entire isles of water supplies were rendered barren. Markets in cities as far away as 50 miles have reported shortages of bottled water.
“It looked like Black Friday,” said Aundrea Simmons, who stood in a line of about 50 people at a pharmacy before buying four cases of water.
Officials in Toledo issued the warning on Saturday morning after tests at the city’s Collins Park Water Treatment Plant showed two sample readings for microcystin above the standard for consumption. While officials say the water is not safe to consume, healthy adults could still use it for bathing.
Read more about the story at Mashable.