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Monday, August 4th, 2014

Could algae toxin contamination happen here?

By Kathy Thompson
CELINA - Despite Grand Lake's algae problems, Celina water customers do not face the same problems as those in Toledo, water plant superintendent Mike Sudman said.
The nearly $7 million granular activated carbon filtration system added in 2008 to eliminate trihalomethanes has prevented any contamination from entering the drinking water of the 11,000 homes served by the system, Sudman said.
"We've had the water tested prior to the filtering system and it's been anywhere from 100 ppb to 35 ppb (of microcystin)," Sudman said. "But that all ends after the water is run through the system." The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency sets a limit of 1 ppb for drinking water, he said.
In fact, Sudman said Grand Lake is more contaminated than Lake Erie, but Celina's system has so far eliminated the contaminants.
Sudman said he has been on the phone with Toledo and OEPA officials regarding Toledo's blue-green algae or cyanobacteria problem. Toledo has been under a water ban after a massive algae bloom contaminated the city's drinking water last week.
"But I've only been on the phone to answer any questions I can," Sudman said. "I'm not an expert or a biologist. I can tell them what we're doing and what we've done. I have had no calls from any customers that we have."
Sudman said Celina's water treatment plant uses a different process than Toledo's does.
"As far as we can tell, Toledo did their testing properly," Sudman said. "They just have a different system than we do."
For the past six years, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has placed a recreational water advisory on Grand Lake due to unsafe levels of toxins produced by blue-green algae or cyanobacteria. The advisory is posted when microcystin toxins exceed 6 parts per billion.
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