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Dear Mr. Word and The Truth Staff,

Before 2014, most people had not heard of Toledo. We were used to being a city off the map. When national and international news started to cover the drinking water crisis, we barely knew what was going on. We were scared, confused, seeking answers, and turning to each other for guidance and support.

 As we learned more, the local high school football team such as the Start Spartans and Woodward Polar Bears came together to provide bottled water to those unable to travel miles away. We sought refuge in each other and felt a bit relieved when the National Guard came to Toledo. We were unsure as to when the drinking water ban would be lifted, but knew we were not forgotten.

 Since the Toledo water crisis, we have come to learn both about the problems causing toxic algae in Lake Erie, and the potential solutions to this very real problem. Our community, from elementary school to the elderly, came together to learn about green infrastructure, natural landscape elements designed to reduce pollution, such as bioswales and rain gardens. These green infrastructure installations in the Junction Community are proving effective in managing the storm water which otherwise floods intersections, yards, and basements in our 150-block neighborhood. This is our contribution to protecting our neighbors from flooding and Toledo’s water source by preventing storm water from overwhelming combined sewers which dump raw sewage into the Ottawa River, Swan Creek, and the Maumee River during major rain events.  We have asked the Toledo Waterways Initiative, responsible for combined sewer separation in older parts of Toledo, to install additional retention cells in the Collingwood portion of the Junction to maximize storm water control at our boundary with the interstate and downtown Toledo. 

 These may seem like minor efforts but when accompanied by community education, information sharing, beautification strategies, rain barrel distribution, and raised consciousness of our place in the Western Lake Erie Basin, it results in progressive change in our historic neighborhoods.  All this work means little, however, if protections afforded by the Clean Water Act are rolled back with the repeal of the Clean Water Rule by the Trump Administration. This rule protects the wetlands and rivers of Northwest Ohio which provide the natural filters as water washes off rural and urban land.  The costly update of Toledo’s water purification facility will require continuous adaptations – all at the expense of residents who have a right to clean, safe drinking water.  How much will the lack of federal protection continue to cost us? 

 We can’t afford to let Ohio and the nation slip backward, returning to the days of widespread polluted streams, rivers and lakes. Nobody, Republican or Democrat, wants contaminated water flowing from our faucets. Ohio’s Congressional members must stand against any attack on the Clean Water Act in the budget or appropriations process. Please call Senators Sherrod Brown (202-224-2315) and Rob Portman (202-224-3353) and Representatives Marcy Kaptur (202-225-4146) and Bob Latta (202-225-6405) and urge them to ensure the promise of a future of clean water for us, our children, and grandchildren. 


Marya Czech,

Junction Coalition Community Education Liaison



Megan Powell,

Junction Coalition Environmental Specialist



Alexis Smith,

Junction Coalition Restorative Justice Girl Circle Coordinator





Copyright © 2018 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/16/18 14:12:13 -0700.

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