For Immediate Release
May 5, 2021

Cuyahoga River Water Quality Continues to Improve; U.S. EPA Agrees to Remove “Eutrophication or Undesirable Algae” Impairment Designation

Responding to Ohio Lake Erie Commission’s recommendation from earlier this year, the U.S. EPA has agreed to remove the “Eutrophication or Undesirable Algae” Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) from the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern (AOC). 

BUIs identify specific problems that can prevent a waterbody from meeting its water quality targets. In 1992, the AOC advisory committee identified nine BUIs that were of concern, causing a degrading of the Cuyahoga River and needing to be addressed.”

“This milestone shows that the Cuyahoga River is continuing to make tremendous progress,” Ohio Lake Erie Commission Executive Director Joy Mulinex said. “In fact, water quality in the river has been on an upward trend for decades in part due to the cooperative efforts of the many local, state, and federal agency and non-governmental partners. 

“By working with our federal, state and local partners, we continue to make progress in cleaning up and restoring the Cuyahoga River AOC,” said U.S. EPA Region 5 Acting Regional Administrator Cheryl Newton. “Our collaborative efforts are transforming this infamous river from an eyesore into a vibrant natural resource once again.”

Research and data evaluations support that the Cuyahoga River AOC no longer have nuisance algae conditions within the AOC program restoration targets. Eutrophication or undesirable algae on the river have improved significantly over the last 25 years and is not systemic, prompting the Ohio Lake Erie Commission and Ohio EPA to request that this impairment designation be removed.

This significant milestone was achieved through the collaborative efforts of dedicated local, state, and federal partners. In March 2021, OLEC and Ohio EPA issued an invitation for public comment as part of the removal recommendation process. Additional steps are required before reaching the goal of removing the six remaining BUIs. As each BUI removal goal is met, Ohio Lake Erie Commission and Ohio EPA will notify the community, seek public input, and submit additional BUI removal recommendations to U.S. EPA.

More information about the improvements and remaining impairments in the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern are available online:

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission was established for the purpose of preserving Lake Erie's natural resources, protecting the quality of its waters and ecosystem, and promoting economic development in the region. The director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) serves as the commission's chairman. Additional members include the directors of the state departments of Transportation, Health, Development Services, Agriculture, Natural Resources, and seven additional members of the public appointed by the governor.


For more information, contact:
James Lee, Ohio EPA
(614) 644-2160
Lynn Garrity, Ohio Lake Erie Commission
(614) 506-0619

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