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

Ohio EPA to Hold Hearing About Proposed Monday Creek Restoration Projects

Ohio EPA will hold a public information session and hearing at 6 p.m. on May 8, 2012, regarding the water quality impacts of 20 separate Monday Creek restoration projects in Athens, Hocking and Perry counties. The meeting will be held in Nelsonville City Hall Council Chambers, 211 Lake Hope Dr.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are proposing the projects to improve water quality across the 116-square-mile watershed. Projects in the mainstem of Monday Creek to four sub-basins (Brush Fork, Dixie Hollow, Lost Run and Snow Fork) include closing mine subsidence and stream captures; constructing stream channels and wetland dikes; and installing water treatment systems, including limestone dosers and leach beds.

Discharges from restoration activities would lower water quality in the watershed. The applicants are requesting the minimal degradation alternative which, if approved, would impact approximately 8,918 feet of streams and 1.5 acres of wetlands. The applicants would be required to offset any impacts resulting from the projects. Ohio EPA also will consider other alternatives that result in lesser or no impacts to water quality.

The federal Clean Water Act requires anyone discharging dredged or fill material into Ohio waters to obtain a Section 401 water quality certification from Ohio EPA and Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Ohio EPA received a Section 401 certification application for these projects. The Agency’s review is to ensure the project will comply with Ohio's water quality standards. The project may result in a change from current water quality conditions but cannot violate standards that protect human health and the environment. Ohio EPA will review the application and the technical, economic, social and environmental aspects of the project before making a decision.

Ohio EPA places a high priority on public involvement and encourages citizens to become involved in the decision-making process. During the May 8 information session, representatives from Ohio EPA will explain the proposed project and answer questions. During the hearing, which immediately follows the information session, the public can submit comments for the record regarding the application. The purpose of the hearing is to obtain additional information that will be considered before Ohio EPA issues or denies the certification.

In addition to oral comments provided at the public meeting, Ohio EPA will accept and equally consider written comments received through May 15, 2012. This is an extension from the date published in the public notice. Written comments can be emailed to dswcomments@epa.state.oh.us or mailed to Ohio EPA-Division of Surface Water, Attention: Permits Processing Unit, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049. Interested parties also may request to be placed on a mailing list for information by writing to the same address. The application and other related materials are available for review at Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water, Lazarus Government Center, 50 W. Town St., Suite 700, Columbus by first calling (614) 644-2001 and Ohio EPA’s Southeast District Office at 2195 Front St., Logan by first calling (740) 385-8501.

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