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News Date: September 09, 2015
City of Columbus and Ohio EPA Confirm Drinking Water is Safe in Response to Erroneous News Report
The Columbus Dispatch erroneously reported in an online story this morning that liver toxins were found in the Dublin Road Water Treatment Plant and that the water could be unsafe to drink. The article suggested that people with weakened immune systems and young children drink bottled water.
In reviewing the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s web site, the reporter mistakenly confused untreated water from the Scioto River with the finished, or treated, drinking water that leaves the plant. Both the city and the OEPA brought the mistake to the reporter's attention. Upon receiving the correct information, the reporter made some corrections to the online story, but did not report his misinterpretation of the data. Additionally, a photo caption in the second version still incorrectly warned that the water was dangerous for the populations referenced above. A third version corrected that mistake.
Both the OEPA and the city of Columbus confirm that the drinking water meets all OEPA regulations and is safe. Algae that can produce toxins are found routinely in surface waters across the state of Ohio. Columbus water treatment is effective in removing contaminants from the untreated water.
“We monitor for algae year-round and budget appropriately for effective treatment of the algae,” said City of Columbus Division of Water Administrator Rick Westerfield. “We’re disappointed the Dispatch reporter did not get a direct quote from either the Ohio EPA or the city of Columbus on this very serious matter in its initial story. One of our staff members received a call from the reporter who said he would look into the matter and get back to the Dispatch. Forty two minutes later the Dispatch posted the story without confirming its erroneous premise.”
“There have been no cyanotoxins from harmful algal blooms detected in the finished drinking water that is being provided to the public in Columbus,” said Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler.