So, Toledo Was Fun This Weekend.

04 August 2014

Saturday morning, I woke up to this…

Toledo Water Emergency

Now, two things you should probably know.  One, my Aunt Sue isn’t tech savvy, she doesn’t text me.  I have gotten exactly ONE text from her, ever.  So you can imagine I was completely confused.   Two, I am an up late kind of girl and Friday… Friday, I went to bed early.  Or I would have seen the health department post at 1:30 in the morning that we should NOT consume, boil, or even touch the water coming out of the tap. 

No drinking.  No showers.  No cooking with it.  No washing dishes.  No hand washing. 


Don’t touch it, don’t let your kids touch it, and don’t let your pets near it.

Which is super fun because right before bed, I downed two huge glasses of contaminated water.  And did a load of dishes on the ridiculously hot setting of our dishwasher.

To put it mildly, people were freaking out.  I told Dave that he should probably hit the store for some bottled water, but by 7:20 am, when he got there, they were already out.  Dave headed to Sam’s because his dad has a business membership, which means he could go in at 7am.  There were already lines around the building and the sheriff’s department was there, so he turned around and came home.

I wasn’t immediately panicked because we had about ten quart sized bottles and some 8 ounce bottles in the basement.  The first two quarts went right into the Keurig and I realized pretty quickly how completely under prepared we were for anything longer than a day.  Even more so when we realized that some family members didn’t have any, like my diabetic 89 year old Gram and my sister and my brother.

We take clean, safe, potable water for granted.  Especially here in Ohio where we have access to the Great Lakes and some of the best water in the country, right out of the tap.  And we use way more than we probably should.   

Try turning off the water to your house for 24 hours and seeing how you would cope.  Then tack on another day and a half, just for fun. 

Now just imagine 600,000 people all doing the same.  Stores in cities an hour away were completely out of bottled water by 11 am on Saturday morning.  Just imagine that.  All of the metro Toledo area, Angola, Indiana, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Monroe, Sandusky, Bowling Green, Findlay all being completely out of bottled water in a matter of hours.  It’s sobering.  Produce departments were also completely cleared because of water spray that contaminated anything exposed to it.  Aisles of paper products were empty.

Produce Section during Toledo Water Emergency Empty Paper Product Aisle Toledo Water Emergency

I swear you’re going to see me on one of those doom’s day prepper shows because of this experience…

Sunday morning, we went to my aunt’s house to shower and fill up our food grade buckets {Dave bought the last four at Lowes} with water.  We were able to bring that water home and wash dishes and our hands in clean water.  They gave the all clear that it was ok for healthy adults to shower, but didn’t provide even ONE actual scientific number to back that up.  As of Monday morning, when they finally lifted the ban, the mayors office and the Ohio EPA still had yet to release any actual data.   

National Guard Water Filling Station      

We’re extremely lucky that it was only half a million people affected and not more than one major city.  If Cleveland or Detroit had also been affected, I don’t think we would have been able to have the immediate response that we {luckily} did.  By Saturday afternoon, the national guard had been mobilized and had a plan for truckloads of water to be delivered, the Red Cross had some water available to those who didn’t have any, people were calm and delivering water to those who couldn’t get out.  I saw gracious people handing out bottles of water to neighbors and friends and strangers alike.  There were calm lines and absolutely gracious, smiling, tired faces of our Ohio National Guard, Red Cross Volunteers, and store clerks.  There were people calling and offering showers and places to fill buckets in cities not affected.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all handled perfectly, there were instances of price gauging.  There were altercations at stores.  There were people buying ridiculous amounts of water, that I hope were for more than themselves, but probably weren’t.  The mayors office really dropped the ball disseminating actual information and it just fueled every idiot in the city to fill in the blanks, true or not.  Every rumor you can imagine spread like wildfire on social media.  I really do think his office acted appropriately in not giving information they weren’t sure about, but they should have just said, hey… we have no idea.  Instead they said that they would have answers, test results, and continuously stalled or just didn’t show up when they said they would, it wasn’t good.  By Sunday evening pissed off people were throwing out suggestions about protesting.

They also really need to overhaul whomever is handling their social media accounts.  Pssst… Mr. Collins, call me.      

Cheers to clean water and the ban being lifted.  I’ll wait to drink it, until you provide those actual numbers. 


Bunny @ 86n It said...

My mom (in Ohio, one hour south of Toledo) said the stores were CRAZY with people buying water. Reminded her of when the cabbage patch kids were big.
Weren't we *just* talking about putting together emergency kits??

Unknown said...

I thought of you this weekend when I saw the news. Your the only I know if that lives in Toledo:) yes good thing it didn't last any longer. That's some scary shit. We have a couple cases of bottled water from costco but that it. We would be totally screwed. We however are "trying" to cut back on water usage since we are in a drought. I could not imagine having no water . Have the provided anything data or numbers or anything about the water being safe to drink yet??? I will have to catch up on my world news now at 3am:)

Sara said...

Ugh. I was serious in my offer for you to come to Cleveland and stay a few days - or at the very least, shower. :)

Katie Olthoff said...

That's crazy! We take it for granted here, too...we had a drought two summers in a row, which drastically affected row crop farmers, but drinking water was never affected. I can't imagine!

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention your mom up and at the BP convenience store getting the last 7 bottles of 20oz water and 22 lb bags of ice so your Meme can have her coffee and oatmeal (with the woman in front of me buying a case of beer, 12 pack of diet coke and relaying she didn't need water now)..... or that "said Aunt Sue" was in Meijer's in BG throwing elbows to get a couple of cases of waters for the her mom and grandkids (picture a 5'2" 100 lb woman taking on the big burly guy who was hoarding.... yep THAT was my sister)

Jessica @ Wanting Adventure said...

How incredibly scary! And they never released information about what contaminated the water? Wow.

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