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NEWS | Aug. 4, 2014

Ohio National Guard members distribute water and food as Toledo area copes with 'do not drink' advisory

By Ohio National Guard

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In response to a state of emergency declared in Lucas County and the greater Toledo area, Ohio Gov. John Kasich has ordered a contingent of the Ohio National Guard to state active duty. 

A harmful algae bloom has affected the Toledo public water system. City officials have issued a “do not drink” notice in the affected areas. Early reports are that about 400,000 people in and around Ohio’s fourth-largest city are affected; 329 Guard members are involved in the response, according to figures from the National Guard Bureau.

Ohio National Guard members are deploying to support residents in Lucas, Wood and Fulton counties. They will deliver water purification systems, pallets of bottled water and military Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs). 

“Our Soldiers and Airmen are highly trained and ready to respond,” said Maj. Gen. Deborah A. Ashenhurst, Ohio adjutant general. “We have specialized equipment and stockpiles of supplies that can bring some relief to the area.” 

Soldiers and Airmen from the Ohio National Guard’s 371st Task Force are providing the personnel for the mission. 

The Ohio National Guard headquarters has activated its Crisis Action Team and Joint Planning Group, consisting of both Air and Army Guard members, to manage response efforts.

However, by late morning Monday, Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins announced that because water tests showed non-detectable levels of the toxin, officials were lifting the ban on using tap water, according to the Toledo Blade newspaper.