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US city lifts drinking ban on tap water

The US industrial city of Toledo, Ohio lifted a ban on consuming tap water Monday (Aug 4) after a weekend of concern that it might be too toxic to drink, following an algae bloom in a lake which contributes to the city's water supply.

WASHINGTON: The US industrial city of Toledo, Ohio lifted a ban on consuming tap water Monday (Aug 4) after a weekend of concern that it might be too toxic to drink.

"There are no discernible microorganisms in the water at this time," Mayor Michael Collins told reporters after a fresh round of overnight tests found undetectable levels of toxic. "All six test results came back with no problems whatsoever... So we are lifting the no drink advisory. Our water is safe."

The ban, put into place Saturday, had affected 500,000 residents of the midwestern US city and suburbs, local media reported. Residents had been warned not to boil their tap water for fear that doing so might increase the concentration of the microcystin toxin.

"The toxins are the result of a large bloom of algae in the western side of Lake Erie," where Toledo gets most of its water, the Ohio Management Agency said on Sunday.

The local Red Cross said the toxin could produce nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and affect liver functions - although it is rarely fatal to humans.

Ohio Governor John Kasich issued a state of emergency for three counties Saturday due to the contaminated water, allowing state officials to divert resources to the affected area. National Guard soldiers were also mobilised, helping to distribute bottled water and to pour safe water into containers from military tanker vehicles.

Algae has likely bloomed in Lake Erie, one of the five Great Lakes of North America, as a result of phosphorous and nitrogen from farm fertiliser runoff.