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Comparing tap water to pool water: What the numbers mean

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Ryan Wichman went to a UT lab to get results. Ryan Wichman went to a UT lab to get results.
TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Many Toledoans have posted videos and photos online of themselves testing their tap water with pool-testing kits. But do these tests really reveal a potential danger in the water?

Meteorologist Ryan Wichman decided to run the test himself to see how the increased chlorine in Toledo's drinking water stacked up.

Ryan took a test kit to Dr. Isabelle Escobar from the University of Toledo. Escobar has been studying water filtration for nearly two decades. She explained how a large city like Toledo would run water tests and why the added chlorine isn't necessarily dangerous.

"The main reason to add chlorine to the water is to kill the bacteria," Dr. Escobar said. "And if bacteria is in the water, it can turn around and make us extremely sick or kill us, so we need the chlorine in the water."

While the toxin microcystin has grabbed attention over the past weekend for being behind the water ban, there are no regulations in place for measuring toxins in the water. The amount of chlorine, however, is much more regulated by the EPA.

Before last weekend, the level of chlorine in Toledo water was 2.4 parts per million. Now it is 2.7. City officials say tests are being run hourly to make sure the chemicals treating the water are at safe levels for consumption.

Dr. Escobar says the increase in chlorine is not cause for concern.

"The Ph of the water that comes from the city is okay to drink," she said. "We have to remember that the sodas have a Ph of around 3. Lemon juice has a Ph of around 3, and we drink those."

As for the pool test kits, Dr. Escobar says tap water should have a higher Ph level than what is found in a pool.

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