Article courtesy of Austen Smith | August 2, 2014 | Ann Arbor Journal | Shared as educational material
Area grocery stores have seen bottled water flying off the shelves throughout Saturday as residents in Toledo and Monore County face a water contamination emergency.
Health and government officials declared a state of emergency in Lucas County, where Toledo is located, after chemical tests at a water treatment facility produced toxin sample readings, according to The Toledo Blade.
Grocery store employees around Washtenaw County started seeing customers load up on cases of bottled early this morning, as affected Ohio residents went to great lengths to find safe water.
“At about 9 a.m., we had about 15 to 20 people come through the doors and they were just frantic,” says Corey Kennedy, store director at Polly’s Country Market in Chelsea which is approximately 67 miles from Toledo.
Kennedy said the first group of people went straight to the water shelf and grabbed every bottle available. At about noon, Kennedy said he believed they would be out of water by 2 p.m. and he didn’t expect to have another order come in until Sunday night at the earliest.
The Saline Busch’s Fresh Food Market has also been flooded with affected residents. Store Manager John Hunter said he started seeing people coming in for water at about 8 a.m. just after the store opened.
Fortunately, he expected to have more water come later on Saturday.
“We reacted quickly,” said Hunter. “The problem we’re running into is a lot of our vendors are the same as the ones in Ohio, and they need their orders first.”
Hunter said they were nearly “wiped out” by the first several customers.
“You feel for those people; there’s things you can’t eat, it affects restaurants, it affects everything,” Hunter said. “But we’re working with other vendors to get more in throughout the day…we’re doing everything we can.”
The water contamination is also affecting parts of Monroe County, but Milan Mayor Michael Armitage announced that the city’s water was unaffected. The southern portion of Milan is located in Monroe County proper.
“The city has an independent water system that uses ground water and is not affected. The problem to our south is suspected to be a result of toxins from the algae bloom on Lake Erie,” said Artmitage.
According to The Blade article, Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins hopes to have more answers later on Saturday but urged residents to stay calm.