11/4/13
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER: (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Erin Strouse
CITIZEN CONTACT: Amber Finkelstein

Ohio EPA to Hold Meeting About Upper Ohio River Drinking Water Protection Plan

Ohio EPA will hold an information session on Wed., Nov. 6, 2013, from 10-11:30 a.m. to discuss a plan to protect drinking water quality in the Upper Ohio River. The meeting will be held at the Pugliese Center at Eastern Gateway Community College in Steubenville.

The 30-mile stretch of the Upper Ohio River flows between East Liverpool and Follansbee, WV. It is a source of drinking water for more than 34,000 people. With help from Ohio EPA and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), three local public water systems worked together to write the plan based on the needs of the area. Those systems include Steubenville, Toronto and the Buckeye Water District, which serves Wellsville and other communities.

Ohio EPA will present these systems with a certificate of recognition and poster map. The map shows potential contaminant sources in the area near the river. The map also shows the boundaries of the drinking water protection area, which is the area the plan focuses on in order to protect people’s source of drinking water. Prevention is the best protection, helping local businesses and municipalities avoid costly cleanups and impacts to public drinking water.

As part of the plan, the water systems developed numerous strategies to prevent, detect and respond to contamination within the protection area. Some of these strategies have been ongoing for years and others are new. They include managing contaminant sources; planning for contingencies; monitoring the Upper Ohio River; educating the public; and outreach to industries upstream from the systems’ drinking water intakes.

At this meeting, these industries’ environmental managers will have the opportunity to meet the public water system managers and share how their facilities store chemicals and handle spills and discharges to the river. Such communication provides critical data to all parties potentially impacted. There also will be short presentations about facilities’ environmental projects in the area and other local efforts to prevent impacts to the river. The systems and Ohio EPA will explain the importance of the plan and answer questions. More than 180 Ohio water systems have developed similar drinking water protection plans that have also been endorsed by the state.

Hard copies of the plan will be available at the meeting. The plan also is online and related materials can be reviewed at Ohio EPA’s Division of Drinking and Ground Waters, Central Office, 50 W. Town St., in Columbus by first calling (614) 644-2752 or Southeast District Office, 2195 Front St., Logan, by first calling (740) 385-8501. More about Ohio EPA’s Source Water Protection Program is on the web.

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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. 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.


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