Head Of Water Treatment Plant, Toledo, Resigns Following Water Contamination

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A city official, who was responsible for the supervision of the water treatment plan, Toledo, has submitted his resignation. This resignation comes three weeks after toxins led to contamination of the water supply serving around 400,000 people. Citizens residing in the northwestern part of Ohio had to face the crisis of clean tap water for a period exceeding two days when the toxins generated by the algae present in Lake Erie seeped within the water supply.

D. Michael Collins, Mayor of Toledo, has confirmed that David Leffler, commissioner of the concerned water treatment plant has resigned, which will be effective from 1st September, 2014. The mayor made it clear that he had asked David Leffler to resign due to lack of confidence in him. The decision was given by the commissioner on Monday. The mayor has lost confidence in the official’s potential inability to carry out policy requisites and take forward the vision of the city. The concerned commissioner was not available for comment.

When the water emergency occurred during the beginning of August, Leffler was on leave. However, according to a statement issued by the mayor of Toledo, the issuance of the do-not-drink advisory would have taken place even if the commissioner had come back to the city.

As stated by Collins, the incident of the resignation results from a letter received by him from the Ohio EPA prior to the commencement of the water crisis at Toledo. The mayor further says that he had conversations with Leffler as well as other plant managers regarding the letter, and there were enough reasons for him to become concerned.

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Collins is looking forward to a water plant that has the potential to provide sound water of superior quality for the coming 75 years. Going by the words of the mayor, the investment would probably go beyond $400 million once every aspect of the project is complete.

Till 1st September, 2014, Leffler would be on sick leave as per the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Tim Murphy, of the Department of Environmental Services, has been acting as the commissioner ever since the occurrence of the water crisis, whilst Leffler was on leave. Murphy said that he brings extensive knowledge pertaining to the regulation of the Ohio EPA along with a great working relationship.

Mayor Collins is considering splitting the Department of Public Utilities to create three operations: water treatment, water distribution, as well as storm and sewer operations. One director would head each of these divisions, thus effectively distributing the work load.

Councilwoman Lindsay Webb stated that this could help. She expressed the need to rope in the best quality people. According to her, the water facility currently has one engineer and if the person has to go on leave, the operations would be shut down.

Councilman Mike Craig feels the division would ensure smooth running of things. Again, Councilman Tom Waniewski is confident about the capability of the Department of Public Utilities, but he is concerned that the load would be excessive for a single director.

Following a performance audit in the month of November, the final decision would be taken.

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