Problems We Found With Toledo Drinking Water


Emma Schultz, M.S.  |  Scientific Contributor

For our assessment of Toledo's tap and drinking water quality, we aggregated water quality test data from the City of Toledo, the water provider for Toledo, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as from samples that we collect and analyze. We cross reference these data with toxicity studies in the scientific and medical literature, and look at upcoming regulatory changes. The water filters that we sell in Toledo are optimized with these water quality issues in mind.

Source Of Toledo Drinking Water

Toledo’s tap and drinking water comes from surface water originating in Lake Erie. There is a water intake crib located 2.5 miles offshore in Lake Erie’s Maumee Bay. Water is funneled through a pump station, and is pretreated before traveling several miles to the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant for full treatment.

Toledo made headlines in 2014 for a water crisis that occurred when a phosphorous-fed toxic algae formed on Lake Erie directly over the water intake crib. The toxic algae contained microcystin, which can be deadly to small animals that drink the contaminated water. Humans who consume the water can suffer from gastrointestinal distress and liver problems. The toxicity level was likely exacerbated by a virus in the water that caused algal cells to erupt and release additional toxins. Toledo residents were issued a ‘Do Not Drink’ injunction for three days in August of 2014. Microcystin levels have been monitored since 2014; it was not detected in any of the samples in 2020.

Lead In Toledo Drinking Water

Lead mixes with Toledo's tap and drinking water following contact with older lead service pipes and lead plumbing. When corrosion control measures fail, such as the recent crisis in Flint, Michigan, lead leaches into the drinking water, and can reach toxic levels. Recent analysis for lead in Toledo's tap and drinking water found 90th percentile concentrations of less than 4 parts per billion. While no tested residences were above the Action Level of 15 ppb, and Toledo is in compliance with all federal regulations, federal regulations can not possibly account for levels measured at an individual’s tap, especially when your home plumbing contains lead. In addition, both the EPA and CDC have recognized that there is no such thing as a safe level of lead, and the American Academy of Pediatrics urges taps with more than 1 ppb lead to be remediated immediately.

Chromium 6 In Toledo Drinking Water

Chromium 6 is a hazardous metal not yet well regulated by the EPA. In 2016, Toledo’s tap and drinking water quality averaged 220 parts per trillion for chromium 6. Despite the lack of regulation, consumers should know that chromium 6 levels in Toledo's water are nearly 11 times higher than the minimum concentration determined to have a negligible impact on cancer risk.

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Drinking Water

DBPs are a category of halogenated emerging contaminants that are produced when chlorine-based disinfectants are added to the water supply, and then combine with naturally-occurring organic matter. These chemicals, while not fully regulated, have been found by the EPA to link to an increased risk of bladder cancer, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system problems. Toledo’s tap water has recently had moderate levels of DBPs, with a 2020 average of 62.9 parts per billion average for trihalomethanes (TTHMs), and 20.03 ppb for haloacetic acids (HAA5).

Use Of Chlorine In Toledo Tap Water

As with much of the United States, Toledo adds chlorine to its water supply to protect consumers against waterborne illness. While not considered overly harmful, many people find that removing chlorine from their drinking water markedly improves the water’s overall taste and odor. When you filter your tap water, we expect you will notice an immediate taste improvement.

Still Have Questions About Toledo's Tap Water?

Hydroviv is a water filtration company that uses water quality data to optimize water filters for each city’s water. The chemicals that we list above are what we consider to be “points of emphasis” so we can build the best water filter for Toledo tap water, but all of our water filters provide broad protection against other contaminants commonly found in drinking water (e.g. VOCs, heavy metals [including lead], pharmaceuticals, solvents, pesticides, mercury).

If you’re interested in learning more about water filters that have been optimized for Toledo tap water, feel free to visit, reach out by email ( or through our live chat. We also frequently post water-related news on Twitter or Facebook.

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