August 29, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Toledo ups spending on chemicals to treat water

Horacio Romero of Toledo looks at algae in Lake Erie at Maumee Bay State Park earlier this month. (Aaron P. Bernstein / Getty Images)

Toledo — Making sure drinking water is safe in Toledo will cost nearly $2 million more than the city expected.

The city plans to spend about $4.7 million this year on chemicals to treat the water, which is about $1.7 million more than the usual annual expense, said Andy McClure, manager of the city’s water treatment plant.

Almost four weeks ago, Ohio’s fourth-largest city issued a do-not-drink advisory after the city’s water supply was contaminated by toxins from algae on Lake Erie. The contamination left about 400,000 people in parts of Ohio and Michigan without clean tap water for a little more than two days.

Toledo draws its water from the lake and for the last several years has been forced to spend millions of dollars to get rid of the toxins in the water. Last year, the city spent an extra $1 million to treat the water.

The city also is looking at short- and long-term fixes to how it treats the water.

Warren Henry, the city’s new program manager for the water-plant improvements, told The Blade newspaper that the city has put a buoy in the lake that will monitor lake conditions.

The city also is looking at building a new treatment unit that could process 40 million gallons of water a day while using updated technology to treat the toxins in the water, Henry said. The expansion and new technology likely will cost nearly $100 million.

The algae that generates the dangerous toxins each summer are expected to peak in September.