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Ohio EPA to Study, Report on Stillwater River Quality

As part of Ohio EPA’s continuous effort to monitor and report on the quality of rivers and streams throughout Ohio, the Agency is launching a study this year of the Stillwater River Watershed. The Stillwater is a state scenic river that is part of the Great Miami River watershed. Information specific to the Stillwater can be accessed through a tab on Ohio EPA’s Great Miami site.

The Stillwater River flows 67 miles from its headwaters in Indiana and northern Darke County through Miami County to a confluence with the Great Miami River in Dayton (Montgomery County).  Major tributaries include Greenville Creek, also a state scenic river, Ludlow Creek, Painter Creek, Swamp Creek and North Fork Stillwater River.  The watershed covers approximately 673 square miles (about 32 square miles in Indiana) and is drained by 280 miles of streams.

This sampling will determine or verify the appropriate classification for significant streams in the area and where streams are meeting their classifications. These classifications, which indicate the quality of water and aquatic life, are used by Ohio EPA when reviewing whether to permit projects that may lower water quality.

Sampling Protocol and Purpose

Ohio EPA employees will collect water and stream sediment chemistry samples, survey aquatic communities and evaluate stream habitat from dozens of sites throughout the watershed. Ohio EPA employees all carry a photo ID and may request private property access from landowners if needed.

The Agency has one of the most advanced water quality monitoring programs in the nation, determining the health of rivers and streams by sampling aquatic biology and habitat in addition to water chemistry. Biology and habitat information can be used to show long-term trends in the quality of the water resource.

Ohio EPA analyzes information about the health and abundance and variety of fish and aquatic insects, especially those species sensitive to pollution, and the amount of bacteria, metals and nutrients in the stream system. The Agency also takes a comprehensive look at all pollution sources. This includes point sources, such as wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities, and nonpoint sources, like urban and rural runoff. To help address impairments, Ohio EPA may develop a watershed restoration report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report.

The Agency shares its information with local governments, watershed groups, landowners and citizens so they also can develop plans to maintain and/or restore impaired waterways. Stakeholders can use Ohio EPA’s information to request grants and additional assistance from the Agency and other funding sources for projects that alleviate water quality problems and protect the resource for drinking water and recreational enjoyment.

Other material related to the watershed study is online and also available for review by calling Ohio EPA’s Division of Surface Water at (614) 644-2001 or Southwest District Office at (937) 285-6357.

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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. In the past 40 years, 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. Ohio EPA -- 40 years and moving forward.


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