Common Water Quality Issues

The Collins Park Water Treatment Plant is staffed with an Ohio EPA Certified Chemist twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. The number to reach them is 419-936-3049. While the plant always has a chemist on duty, the chemist is not always available to answer the phone as they may be gathering samples or running a test. As an alternative, 419-936-3023 puts the caller into a calling tree with options to connect to any of the water lab phones or the water emergency line.

What Causes Water Hardness?

Water hardness is caused by calcium and magnesium salts that reside in the water, which is found in 80% of the US fresh water. Hard drinking water is generally not harmful to one's health. The City of Toledo softens the water before it enters the distribution system.

A certified Chemist in our Quality Control Lab can assist you with hard water concerns. Please call us at 419-936-3049.


Why does my Tap Water have an Odor or Taste Funny?

Odor and taste issues can occur for a variety of reasons. A certified Chemist in our Quality Control Lab can assist you with your concerns. Please call us at 419-936-3049.


Why is my Tap Water Cloudy?

Cloudy water is usually caused by temperature change and the presence of dissolved air in the water. It is very common in the winter and can last for quite a long time. When water appears to have a milky white, gray or carbonated appearance a simple test may suffice to denote its origin. Fill a clear glass with tap water and observe it over a minute or so. If the glass clears from bottom to top, then it is dissolved air escaping into the atmosphere.

There is no health risk associated with this situation.

For other reasons for cloudy water call a certified Chemist in our Quality Control Lab at 419-936-3049.


Why does my Tap Water have White Particles? 

White or grayish particles in your water can often be attributed to two different sources, both of which pertain to the condition of the hot water tank.

There is no health risk associated with either situation.

The characteristics of the particles will help determine the source:

If you have white, gray, or dark gray particles that give off bubbles when submerged in white vinegar, you most likely have calcium carbonate particles. These particles are often formed from the hardness of City of Toledo water when it is heated over 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) in your hot water tank. To help prevent it, you should turn the temperature down on the tank. If your hot water tank has calcium carbonate deposited in it, use caution and follow the manufacturer’s directions for shutting down, draining, and re-starting your hot water tank.

A certified Chemist in our Quality Control Lab will be able to assist you with concerns about white particles in your water. Please call us at 419-936-3049.


Why is my Water Rusty?

There may have been a change in pressure in the line due to hydrant flushing, a fire, turning on a valve, etc. Normally rusty water events dissipate in 4-6 hours but could last longer depending on water usage in the area. If the event lasts more than 24 hours please call our Water Emergency at 419-242-5040.                

It is important to note that when rusty water is experienced it is normally not a health concern but one of aesthetic quality.

Rusty-brown, orange, or light yellow water can be caused by a variety of reasons including:

  • Water main breaks
  • Fire fighting operations
  • Hydrant flushing or Broken hydrants
  • Street sweeping
  • Construction work or damage
  • System depressurizations
  • Corroding iron pipes
  • Routine maintenance

If you are experiencing rusty water:

  • Do not run your water until it turns clear.
    It is of little to no value to do so & is wasteful and costly to you as a consumer.
  • Use of HOT water should be kept to a minimum, as it will draw cold rusty water into your hot water tank. If your hot water tank does have rust in it, use caution and follow the manufacturer’s directions for shutting down, draining, and re-starting your hot water tank.
  • Do not wash laundry. Clothing washed in rusty water can become stained. If this occurs, it is important to NOT dry the clothing. Instead, leave the wet clothing in the washer and apply an iron removal product as soon as possible to prevent the iron stain from setting. Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

How do I Participate in Decisions Concerning my Drinking Water?

Toledo's City Council meets every other Tuesday at 4:00pm at City Hall.


How does the City of Toledo Protect Our Drinking Water from Harmful Algal Blooms?

  • The City of Toledo actively works with the Ohio EPA to ensure the public water supply is safe and the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant and distribution system is operating within all regulatory requirements and health guidelines.
  • Toledo chemists and operators are on duty 24 hours a day testing and monitoring the water treatment process from the intake crib in Lake Erie through to the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant and into the distribution system.
  • During HAB season Toledo has an advance warning system of buoys and data collection devices in Lake Erie for early detection of harmful algal bloom conditions, which allows adjustment of water treatment methods starting at the intake crib and throughout the treatment process at the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant.
  • Toledo has dramatically improved its ability to treat HABs through enhanced chemical feed and disinfection capabilities and other Ohio EPA approved upgrades to the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant.

How can Citizens Prepare for HAB Season?

  • Sign up to receive emergency text alerts through the link on the City’s website landing page or at www.lucascountyalerts.com.
  • Toledo water customers can check the drinking water quality information, “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive real-time updates.
  • Residents may consider keeping a modest supply of bottled water on hand to be prepared for any type of emergency.

How does the City of Toledo Communicate the Status of its Drinking Water Quality During HAB Season?