Repeat of Toledo water crisis not likely in D.C. area

WASHINGTON — The tap water coming from the faucets looked about like wheatgrass juice — undrinkable.

From the weekend until Monday morning, hundreds of thousands of people in Toledo, Ohio, were told to avoid drinking tap water — an algae bloom in Lake Erie had fouled up the water source with toxins.

The water crisis in Ohio’s fourth-largest city is not likely to be replicated in the Washington area, officials say. The foremost reason is that the water sources are different: a lake in Ohio versus rivers here.

“The Potomac River, which supplies over 60 percent of our water, is a very fast-moving body of water, which is not conducive to that type of algae bloom,” says Jerry Irvine, a spokesman for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.

It also draws water from the Patuxent River, which is not as swift because of its two reservoirs. Still, it has a moving current, Irvine says.

In a statement, D.C. Water also affirmed that the Potomac is a fast-moving body of water not prone to large algae blooms.

Even so, the Washington Aqueduct tests for the presence of algae blooms weekly.

“All water systems have vulnerabilities,” D.C. Water says.

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