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Ohio EPA Schedules Meeting to Discuss Ashtabula River Recovery
Ohio EPA and the Ashtabula River Remedial Action Program Advisory Council have scheduled a Feb. 20, 2014, public meeting to update the community on restoration of the Ashtabula River Area of Concern. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Kent State University’s Ashtabula Campus (Blue and Gold Room), 3300 Lake Road West, Ashtabula.
The Agency and advisory council will discuss a proposal to remove three of six beneficial use impairments (BUIs) that were placed on the lower 2.5 miles of river in the 1980s, when it was first named one of 43 Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The BUIs recommended for removal include: restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption; degradation of fish and wildlife populations; and loss of fish and wildlife habitat.
After years of restoration work – including an unprecedented $75 million dredging project to remove 650,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment – the Ashtabula River is now recovering. Fish and wildlife populations are rebounding, so much so, that the three BUIs are no longer considered impairments. Should U.S. EPA concur with the findings and remove the BUIs, it will put the Ashtabula River one step closer to being delisted as an area of concern.
The removal recommendations are available online. Written comments concerning the recommendations may be submitted at the meeting or mailed to: Ohio EPA Northeast District Office, attn: Ted Conlin, 2110 East Aurora Road, Twinsburg, OH 44087. Comments also may be emailed to email@example.com. The public comment period ends March 7.
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.