Water crisis closes businesses

Microscopic bits of algae are creating big problems for food service operations in Wood County.
Most restaurants in the northern section of the county were closed Saturday and Sunday after the city of
Toledo warned that its water should not be consumed or used to cook food.
Brad Espen, director of environmental services at the Wood County Health District, said he and nursing
staff quickly came up with advice for food operations.
"If they can operate safety without using the tap water, that’s OK," Espen said Sunday. But
that criteria was pretty stringent. "Most are closed," he said.
Those restaurants continuing to serve food must bring in bulk water from non-Toledo sources, must give
customers bottled water, and must serve food on paper plates with plastic eating utensils.
Other businesses in the county are also checking in with local officials about continuing to operate
during the water emergency.
"Several of them have called," said Brad Gilbert, director of the Wood County Emergency
Management Agency. But since most use their water supply for processing, they are not affected, Gilbert
But each business has to consider its own specific situation, he said. For example, dentists offices in
northern Wood County may want to close or bring in alternate water supplies. Perrysburg officials posted
Sunday that the city pool was closed due to the toxins.
When the water order was first issued, Jerry Greiner, executive director of the Northwestern Water and
Sewer District, said he was called by a Perrysburg area hotel official worried about operating safely.
The initial order from Toledo said the water should not be used for showering or laundry – which would
cripple hotel operations. However, once the water test results were further evaluated, it was determined
that it was safe for the water to be used for showering and laundry.