TOLEDO Bad Water Emergency. Semper simus parati!

Every once in a while I get snippy snarky notes from people asking why item A or B is on my wish list. “Why do you have solar panels?… rifle slings? … water purifiers on your list?”

HA!  Semper paratus.

“There he goes again!”, some of you naysayers are naysaying.

I keep saying that stuff always happens to someone else until it happens to you.


I now read at the Columbus Dispatch:

More tests needed before Toledo gets water back

[O me O, O my O] TOLEDO, Ohio — More tests are needed to ensure that toxins are out of Toledo’s water supply, the mayor said today, instructing the 400,000 people in the region to avoid drinking tap water for a second day.

This is not over yet,” Mayor D. Michael Collins said, adding that new samples showing decreased levels of toxins in the water are a positive sign.

Toledo officials issued the warning early yesterday after tests at one treatment plant showed two sample readings for microsystin above the standard for consumption, possibly because of algae on Lake Erie. The city also said not to boil the water because that would only increase the toxin’s concentration. The mayor also warned that children should not shower or bathe in the water and that it shouldn’t be given to pets.

Long lines quickly formed at water distribution centers and store shelves were emptied of bottled water. The warning effectively cut off the water supply to Toledo, most of its suburbs and a few areas in southeastern Michigan.  [This is a gentle warning and object lesson.  Imagine structural breakdown and NO WATER at all arriving at your home or anywhere else in your town, potable or not.  Are you imagining the breakdown in social order that will ensue?  How will you keep your kith and kin going?]

City and state officials monitoring the water were waiting for a new set of samples to be analyzed today at a federal lab in Cincinnati, Collins said.

Worried residents told not to drink, brush their teeth or wash dishes with the water waited hours for deliveries of bottled water from across Ohio as the governor declared a state of emergency.


Great, huh?

Now… put yourself into different scenarios, dear readers.  Especially those of you who have children.  Would it be a good idea to have an occasion “water discipline” day?  An occasional day on zero waste, different food, what to do days?

And, apart from water… food?

Whenever I hear about some awful thing happening in a place, such as a really destructive tornado, hurricane, other disaster or problem, I always wonder about the many readers of this blog.  I think you should take some basic steps for yourselves and for others.  Some basic preparation can relieve many problems when TSHTF and you can be less of a burden on others.

And make sure your priests are covered, folks.  Father gets sick… you don’t get Mass, confession, LAST RITES….   Remember my posts about an unprovided or provided death?

It’s always someone else… until it’s you.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Global Killer Asteroid Questions, Semper Paratus, TEOTWAWKI, The Coming Storm and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Iacobus M says:

    Nice hortatory subjunctive, Father.

  2. acardnal says:

    Fr. Z, I know you have tried some freeze/dried foods but you were going to sample some MRE’s and give some feedback on how they tasted. Have you tried any yet?

  3. OrthodoxChick says:

    A sobering, but necessary reminder. I’ve had MRE’s and found them on the overly salty side, but they sure beat starvation. I’m thinking of getting into canning instead. It’ll satisfy the food snob in me and should be fun to prepare. Plus, if water is ever in short/no supply in my neck of the woods, most fruits and veggies that are “put up” by home canners retain a lot of their moisture and/or are packed in liquid anyway. One could drink the sugar water that their summer fruits were packed in if need be.

  4. Bea says:

    Coast Guard Marching Song

    Here’s the SEMPER PARATUS put to music with lyrics to put you in the mood to “stock up”

    Go get your water and victuals for any need of hibernation.
    Don’t forget First Aids and Meds. too.

    We’ve got bottled water, so we’re covered against dehydration but….. food…need to stock up on that.
    Somewhere I also read that Soap and Toilet Paper will be in short supply too.

  5. tzard says:

    This is a situation I’ve not considered before. This toxin poisoning won’t be fixed by normal water purification. Our filter won’t work. Our family, however, has a 60 gallon water drum in the back yard which we refresh bi-yearly. That should keep us going for a week or so.

    Acardnal – Freeze-dried is light to carry or backpack, but you need to add water. Better canned or MREs for most situations. Dehydrated needs extra water. MREs also have a problem in that they have way too much salt.

  6. Jack says:

    And tomorrow (AUG 4) is Coast Guard Day.

    SEMPER PARATUS indeed.

  7. Glennonite says:

    I have never thanked you for that post last year about how the Earth missed a disasterous (apropos word) CME by only two weeks. It motivated me to get serious and I am now about as ready as I can get, (soup, starches, salt, solar panels, soap, Faraday boxes, lead). Anything stored in over-abundance can always become a trade item. Galvanized trash cans are the bomb for everything.

    What do you think of the Going Home series by A. American? I keep my ten-speed bike in my truck where ever I go because of those books.

  8. Papabile says:

    It does make you think. I went to Mass today in a parish named St Timothy’s in Chantilly VA. The Priest who preached was a visiting mission Priest from Africa. He spoke about the importance of ed educating Priests locally in Africa, but how much it costs to get truly qualified instructors.

    However, he as l as I mentioned how lucky we were in the US because we have clean water. He related an exp err since where a 70 year old woman was given a glass of clean water after a well was drilled, and she fainted, because she had never seen clean water before. He also related how many funerals he had to do for children who die from the water there.

  9. stjoe says:

    Hi Friends,

    I live in Toledo and directly impacted by our water situation. I have seen volunteers come out to pass water to their fellow citizens. I have seen volunteers come to feed other volunteers. The citizens of Toledo have responded extremely well to our crisis, feeding the hungry and bringing water to the thirsty. God has been very merciful to our city, despite the major problems.

    Father, thank you for reminding us to be materially prepared. When I awakened to hear the news not to drink the water, I told my wife, “We are prepared for this. I have stored clean water for an emergency such as this.”

    Father, thank you even more for reminding us to go to confession. Years earlier, I had promised my confessor that I would go once a month at a minimum. Due to my own negligence, I went 4 months and due to reading your constant prompting, confessed just a few days before this water crisis.

    Thank you for your constant reminders to be materially and spiritually prepared!

  10. LarryW2LJ says:

    Fr. Z and all,

    What would be the best water purifier in a circumstance like Toledo? Would the LifeStraw work in this case? I’ve been thinking of procuring a few of them – wondering if they’re as effective as advertised.

  11. stjoe says:


    To answer your question: Toledo’s public health and water officials said no filter would work. Toledo’s problem was microcystin, a toxin that is an afterproduct of an algae bloom.


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