Federal labs in Cincinnati tested Toledo water samples for algae

The United States Environmental Protection Agency operates in Cincinnati specialized laboratories for water research, highly toxic materials and bacteria, among other things.

More than 800 people work at the Andrew W. Breidenbach Environmental Research Center, which sits on a 22-acre complex five miles north of downtown Cincinnati. In fact, the Breidenbach Environmental Research Center is the second largest research and development facility owned and operated by EPA and houses research laboratories, training facilities and administrative offices, according to the federal agency.

“On Aug. 2, Ohio EPA made a request to EPA’s laboratory in Cincinnati to provide technical assistance and water sample analysis for the City of Toledo’s drinking water utility. Tests for cyanobacteria toxins are currently being run in the lab, and results will be provided to the Ohio EPA once they are complete,” according to a statement provided by a U.S. EPA spokesperson late Sunday night.

By Monday morning, Ohio’s fourth largest city lifted its water use ban, that had prevented approximately 400,000 people in northeastern Ohio from drinking the water, brushing their teeth or washing their dishes with it.

“After exhaustive testing, analysis and discussions between Toledo water officials, the U.S. EPA and the Ohio EPA, we support the city’s decision to lift its drinking water advisory,” Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler said in a provided statement issued Monday.

“The mayor and his team, U.S. EPA and the other scientific and academic leaders who lent us their expertise worked in a constructive way to turn the water back on for the people of Toledo. In the days ahead, we will continue to work closely with Toledo and others to better understand what happened and support their effort to supply safe drinking water to its customers,” Butler said.

The advisory was lifted after dozens of tests over the weekend showed an algae-induced toxin contaminating Lake Erie had dropped to safe levels following intensive chemical treatments.

Drinking the tainted water could cause vomiting, cramps and rashes.

The Cincinnati EPA research center lies adjacent to the main campus of University of Cincinnati and the land was donated by the city, also according to U.S. EPA. The Breidenbach research building was completed in 1975 at a cost of $28 million, and was dedicated by President Gerald Ford.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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