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Ohio EPA Celebrates Ground Water Awareness Week with New Report on How State’s Communities are Protecting Drinking Water
More of Ohio’s public water systems are keeping their drinking water sources safe, as detailed in a new report compiled by Ohio EPA – just in time for National Ground Water Awareness Week – March 8-14.
Although Ohio's public water systems treat their drinking water to meet health-based standards, more emphasis has been placed in recent years on protecting the sources of that water. By taking steps to avoid chemical spills in the areas surrounding a wellfield or upstream from a surface water intake, a community can help reduce the costs of water treatment and better ensure a safe supply of drinking water.
More than 1,600 drinking water systems that serve approximately 4.7 million Ohioans have received endorsed Source Water Assessment and Protection (SWAP) plans from Ohio EPA. Of these, 165 systems use ground water as the sole source of drinking water. The SWAP plans spell out how communities address land use, fuel spills or chemical contamination near wellfields and surface water intakes.
Even communities without endorsed plans also are taking steps to identify how contaminants can enter drinking water sources. In January 2015, community public water systems with relatively susceptible sources of drinking water were asked to report to Ohio EPA what they are doing to ensure that water is safe. A summary of the information provided is available in the above-cited report.
More information about Ohio’s public water systems and how to keep them safe is available online. Information about National Ground Water Awareness Week is available from the National Ground Water Association.
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.