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Ohio EPA Issues Latest Water Quality Report
Today, Ohio EPA released the draft 2020 water quality report that outlines the general condition of Ohio’s waters and includes a list that identifies impaired waters that are not meeting their federal or state water quality goals, as well as waters that have improved to meet their goals.
The draft report highlights that between the 2002 and 2020 biennial reporting cycles, the percentage of large river miles in full attainment of federal water quality goals has increased from 62.5 percent to 88.2 percent. Significant large rivers assessed in the draft report include the Cuyahoga, Tuscarawas, and Whitewater rivers.
“This is a clear sign that our work and long-term investments in Ohio to improve water quality are succeeding,” says Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson.
For 2020, Ohio EPA is placing a high priority on Lake Erie’s Western Basin (from the Michigan/Ohio state line to the Marblehead Lighthouse) for impairments to recreation and drinking water due to harmful algae and microcystin. Ohio EPA had previously designated the Western Basin as impaired for these reasons in 2016 and 2018. As a result of the new high priority designation, Ohio EPA will develop a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Western Basin over the next two to three years.
Ohio EPA will present information about the draft impaired waters list through a webinar on March 2, 2020, at 2 pm. The webinar may be viewed at Ohio EPA’s Central Office in the Center for Excellence, 50 West Town Street, Suite 700, Columbus, or by joining online.
The summary of each water body assessment unit is available online at epa.ohio.gov/dsw/tmdl/OhioIntegratedReport.aspx. Visit this website to review specifics concerning water bodies that are impaired or delisted.
Written comments on the draft list of impaired water bodies may be submitted by mail no later than March 13, 2020, to firstname.lastname@example.org, or in writing to Ohio EPA Division of Surface Water, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049, Attn: 303(d) comments. Comments submitted after this date will be considered as time and circumstances permit. Following public review and comments, a final report will be submitted to U.S. EPA.
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.