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A condition called hypoxia caused discolored water for Cleveland-area residents

File image of water faucet.
Posted at 11:22 AM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 11:22:47-04

CLEVELAND — A condition called hypoxia caused discolored water for some residents living in Cleveland’s East Side neighborhoods, according to a news release sent on Sunday by the Cleveland Water Department.

Hypoxia occurs when there are recurring low oxygen levels in the central basin of Lake Erie as surfaces warm, leaving a layer of colder water at the bottom, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of Great Lakes.

The density between the two layers prevents oxygen-rich nutrients from mixing into the bottom layer.

Researchers from NOAA Great Lakes said the frequency of hypoxia is expanding because of accelerated algae growth caused by human-induced nutrient enrichment from rural and urban runoff.

To help alert water intake managers about hypoxia, there’s a NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory buoy that alerts officials to the changes in Lake Erie that can impact drinking water quality.

In the discolored water notification sent by the Cleveland Water Department on Sunday, city officials said the affected area includes portions of Euclid, Richmond Heights, Highland Heights, Mayfield Village, Mayfield Heights, South Euclid, Lyndhurst and Gates Mills.

According to the Cleveland Water Department, the water is safe to drink as it meets all primary water regulations, but residents are advised not to do laundry.

As of Sunday, clear water was coming from the water plant and crews were flushing hydrants throughout the region to remove any discolored water.

Customers who experience discolored water are encouraged to call the 24-hour emergency line at 216-664-3060 to help the water department know which areas are affected.

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