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Ohio EPA Issues Water Quality Certification for NEXUS Pipeline
Requires Additional ‘Contingency and Storm Water Planning’ from NEXUS
After lengthy and careful review and consideration to ensure this pipeline project complies with Ohio law and is protective of the environment and public health, Ohio EPA has issued a Water Quality Certification for the Nexus pipeline to be built in Columbiana, Stark, Summit, Wayne, Medina, Lorain, Huron, Erie, Sandusky, Wood, Lucas, Henry and Fulton counties.
Anyone planning to discharge, dredge or use fill material in a way that results in the placement of fill into waters of the state must first obtain a permit from U.S Army Corps of Engineers which must be certified with a Water Quality Certification (commonly known as a 401) from Ohio EPA. The project would have the potential to affect the quality of streams and wetlands in the following watersheds: Upper Ohio, Tuscarawas, Mahoning, Cedar-Portage, Lower Maumee, Ottawa-Stony, Black-Rocky, Huron-Vermilion and Sandusky.
For many months, Ohio EPA considered technical, economic, social and environmental aspects of the project, held an information session and public hearing on the application, and received and reviewed public input throughout an initial and extended comment period.
Although the project may result in a change from current water quality conditions, the changes cannot violate Ohio’s water quality standards that protect human health and the environment.
In addition, Ohio EPA is requiring NEXUS to have and implement very detailed contingency plans for managing unanticipated releases to the environment, such as inadvertent returns, and a storm water pollution prevention plan to manage possible storm-water-related impacts to the environment.
A copy of the certification along with public comments and responses may be viewed online: epa.ohio.gov/pic/respond.aspx. The Water Quality Certification can be appealed to the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC). Appeals generally must be filed within 30 days of issuing a final action; anyone considering filing an appeal should contact ERAC at (614) 466-8950 for more information.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.