Ohio Senators Applaud New EPA Guidelines

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - This is a sight that the people of Ohio hope they never have to see again.

"I immediately got in my pick up truck, I was in my truck and loaded it up with bottles water and drove up to Toledo," Portman said.

"That should never happen where hundreds of thousands of people lose their drinking water," Brown said.

Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Rob Portman of Ohio have spent the past year pushing for new guidelines for water safety. Both of them were there when an algal bloom contaminated the water in Toledo last summer making it undrinkable for nearly 500 thousand people.

"Make sure that we're testing..that the EPA understands what are the safe levels so that we can test for them," Brown said.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently released the first nationwide guidelines that focus on toxins called microcystin, produced by blue-green algae. The EPA's recommended limits for children younger than school age were 0 point 3 parts per billion for microcystin. For everyone else, the thresholds were 1.6 parts per billion for microcystin.

"I'm pleased the EPA has responded this way because that should make a difference in preventing what happened in August of 2014 from happening again," Brown said.

Senator Portman said he's happy about the EPA taking the first step but there is still a lot more to be done. He said this problem not only affects our drinking water, but our economy.

“If you have these toxin algal blooms continue like they have to grow, you're going to shut down some of the great recreational value of the lake also," Portman said.

The Senator Portman said the next step is to put this administrative action into law and come up with strategic plans to avoid the problem in the future.

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