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Schumer calls Toledo water ban a ‘wakeup call’ for Western New York

A water ban that left Toledo, Ohio, residents without drinking water should be a “wakeup call” for Lake Erie communities in Western New York, Sen. Charles Schumer said Monday.

Schumer, D-N.Y., reiterated his earlier call for federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations that would require every lakeshore community to monitor for toxins that could come from blue-green algea.

“This is not just a state problem, it’s a national problem,” said Schumer, who made the comments on the toxic algae bloom during a news conference this morning.

Toledo residents on Saturday were told not to drink city water after tests from a treatment plant showed toxin levels from algae were too high. That advisory was lifted today.

Schumer said the EPA is already working on developing regulations for testing for toxins.

“Toledo should be a wakeup call,” Schumer said. “And they should hurry up and get out the regulations as to how to do it and the requirement that every town do it.”

Schumer also said he would like to see the immediate distribution of money set aside in the 2014 Farm Bill to help farmers and factories deal with phosphorus and other pollutants that run off into the waters and fuel the development of algal blooms in Lake Erie.

A “quick and large campaign” to clean up the lake, Schumer said, could “avoid what happened in Toledo from ever happening in Western New York.”