As a precautionary response to COVID-19, Ohio EPA is currently operating with most staff working remotely. If you are working with our staff on a current project and you know the name of the employee you are working with, email them at firstname.lastname@epa.ohio.gov or call them directly. The Agency website has contact information for every district, division, and office. To report a spill or environmental emergency, contact the spill hotline (800) 282-9378 or (614) 224-0946. This number should only be used for emergencies. For all other calls, please contact Ohio EPA’s main phone line at (614) 644-3020 or the main line for the division or office you are trying to reach.

After March 23, our district offices and Central Office will be temporarily closed and will have increasingly limited ability to receive deliveries, plans, etc. All entities are encouraged to submit plans, permit applications, etc., electronically where there are existing avenues to do so, such as the eBusiness Center (eBiz). Please refer to the list of available services on the main eBiz webpage. We encourage you to make use of all that apply, even if you have not used eBiz in the past. Plans under 25 MB can be emailed. For large plans over 25 MB, entities should work with the reviewer/division to upload via LiquidFiles. Directions for submitting docs via LiquidFiles is available on YouTube. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you in advance for your understanding. If you wish to send hard copies of documents to any of Ohio EPA’s district offices, the best method to ensure we receive these documents is to send them via U.S. Mail. Since all offices are closed, deliveries outside of U.S. Mail (FedEx, UPS) will likely be returned because the offices are closed and deliveries cannot be made.



3/18/19
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: James Lee
CITIZEN CONTACT: Kristopher Weiss

Cuyahoga River Water Quality Continues to Improve; U.S. EPA Agrees to Remove “Restrictions on Fish Consumption” Impairment Designation

Confirming research showing continued improvements to local water quality, U.S. EPA has agreed with Ohio EPA’s recommendation that restrictions on fish consumption in the Cuyahoga River (from Gorge Dam to Lake Erie) can be eased. Any remaining advisories for that segment of stream are now consistent with the state’s general recommendations (updated yearly).

In 2018, Ohio EPA asked U.S. EPA to remove what’s known as a Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI), in this case, a restriction on fish consumption from this stream segment identified as an Area of Concern (AOC). The state made this request based on data from fish tissue sampling which shows significant improvements in the health of fish in the stream. Federal officials agreed. Removing this impairment takes Ohio one step closer to the goal of delisting the Cuyahoga River as an Area of Concern.

“This is an example of the progress that can be achieved when you collaborate and dedicate resources to improving the quality of water in our state,” Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said. “We need to continue to invest in our water resources so that we can see additional improvements.”

BUIs identify specific problems that can prevent a waterbody from meeting its full water quality potential. In 1992, the AOC advisory committee identified 10 BUIs, degrading the Cuyahoga River and needing to be addressed. The seven impairments which remain are detailed on the Cuyahoga River AOC webpage.

“If you safely can eat the fish, we know that’s a great indication that water quality is improving,” Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson said. “The Ohio Areas of Concern are a priority and we look forward to working with our many partners in continuing progress in the Cuyahoga River, to advance Governor DeWine’s major priority of restoring our state’s crown jewel, Lake Erie.” 

“The removal of this BUI is a huge step for the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern,” EPA Region 5 Administrator Cathy Stepp said. “Many years of collaborative effort at the federal, state and community levels are paying off and we’re making great progress in improving the health of the river.”

“As we approach the 50th anniversary of the most infamous Cuyahoga River fire, we reflect on the progress that has been made,” Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells, CEO, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District said. “We appreciate our advisory and technical support role on the Cuyahoga AOC and know that the data provided by our Water Quality and Industrial Surveillance team has been integral in approving this BUI removal.”

This significant milestone was achieved through the collaborative efforts of dedicated local, state and federal partners. In September, Ohio EPA held a public meeting in Parma to accept comments as part of the removal recommendation process. Members of the public were invited to attend to learn about the BUI change proposals and provide comments. Ohio EPA and the Ohio Lake Erie Commission continue to advance towards the removal of the remaining BUIs with the AOC local partners. As each BUI removal goal is met, Ohio EPA will notify the community, seek public input and submit additional BUI removal recommendations to U.S. EPA.

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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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