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Toledo's water commissioner resigns following toxins scare

August 28, 2014
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The commissioner of Toledo's troubled water treatment plant has been forced to resign, after toxins contaminated the city's water supply, the Associated Press reported.

The mayor of the Ohio city Michael Collins said that he asked for the resignation of David Leffler, who was on vacation when 400,000 residents were told not to drink the water in the Toledo-area earlier this month after toxins from Lake Erie got into the water supply.

A report in local newspaper The Blade said that Collins did not criticize Leffler's job performance and added that the do-not drink-warning would have happened regardless of whether he had returned from his vacation early due to the water emergency.

However, the mayor said he had lost confidence in Leffler and told the newspaper that they had differences, which he refused to comment on further.

Toledo's water supply is taken from Lake Erie to the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant for purification and it was at the treatment plant that officials discovered unsafe levels of the toxin microcystin, which can cause abdominal pain, vomiting and kidney damage.

Algal blooms are fairly common in the summer, state officials told Reuters. However Algae levels in the lake are increasing, caused by high amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous, which can be a result of excessively fertilized fields and lawns or from malfunctioning septic systems and livestock pens.

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