Division of Surface Water Mission Statement
The division's mission is to protect, enhance and restore all waters of the state for the health, safety and welfare of present and future generations. We accomplish this mission by monitoring the aquatic environment, permitting, enforcing environmental laws, using and refining scientifically sound methods and regulations, planning, coordinating, educating, providing technical assistance and encouraging pollution prevention practices.
Who We Are
Ohio is a water-rich state with more than 25,000 miles of streams and rivers, a 451-mile border on the Ohio River, more than 5,000 lakes, ponds, and reservoirs (>1 acre), and 236 miles of Lake Erie shoreline. Ohio has 10 scenic rivers comprising more than 629 river miles, the fourth largest total of any state in the nation.
The Division of Surface Water is responsible for restoring and maintaining the quality of Ohio's rivers and streams. The goal of Ohio's surface water program -- restoration and maintenance of Ohio's water resources -- reflects the national water quality objective in the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA), which is "to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation's waters. The CWA objective is often referred to as the "fishable/swimmable goal."
The fishable/swimmable goal is different from the popular idea of clean water as being water that is chemically pure. Instead, fishable/swimmable waters are resources that support stable, balanced populations of aquatic organisms which are ecologically "healthy," and provide safe water to the people of Ohio for public and industrial water supplies and recreation.
The Division of Surface Water has a full time staff of approximately 240 located in Columbus and the five district offices. The division also employs approximately 50 interns during the summer to assist with biological and chemical water quality surveys. Funding for the division is comprised of federal and state monies as well as annual discharge fees.
The Tools We Use
The Division of Surface Water utilizes many tools in working to achieve its goals: