Ohio EPA Seeks Public Comments on Proposed ‘HABs Reporting Rules’ for Public Water Systems and Laboratory Certifications

Agency Opens Pre-Comment Period through October 23, 2015

Requesting feedback from interested parties, Ohio EPA has opened an initial comment period related to the Agency’s new draft rules for public drinking water systems (and laboratories) as it relates to the reporting and monitoring of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). Confirmed reports of these blue green HABs growing in Ohio’s lakes, reservoirs, and rivers were common this summer.

Current reporting programs are voluntary, and therefore the full scale of HABs across Ohio remains unknown. If adopted, these new administrative rules could assist Ohio EPA in better understanding the extent to which HABs are growing across the state, and ensuring greater protection for customers of all public water systems that use surface water as their source. The issues addressed in the proposed rules revisions include:

  • establishing microcystins action levels in drinking water based on U.S. EPA’s health advisory levels;
  • setting HAB screening, microcystins monitoring and reporting requirements for public water systems (PWSs) that use surface water as their source;
  • requiring increased monitoring based on detections of microcystins above 5 μg/L in the raw water or exceedances of action levels in drinking water;
  • requiring public water systems (PWSs) to submit written HAB treatment optimization protocols if microcystins are detected in raw or finished drinking water. Additionally, PWSs may be required to submit a HAB general plan with one or a combination of source water protection activities, reservoir management and in-plant treatment technologies;
  • requiring public notification in cases of monitoring violations and exceedances of action levels in drinking water, as well as consumer confidence reports; and,
  • establishing requirements for laboratory certification, analytical techniques and reporting deadlines.

An overview/factsheet of the draft rules may be accessed online at: http://epa.ohio.gov/Portals/28/documents/rules/draft/IPR_HAB_factsheet.pdf.

Paper copies of the draft rules may be requested (and comments may be submitted) to: Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Division of Drinking and Ground Waters, P.O. Box 1049, Lazarus Government Center, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049, Attn: Susan Kramer or by email: ddagw_rulecomments@epa.ohio.gov.

Initial public comments must be received by the close of business, October 23, 2015. After receiving and considering initial comments from interested parties, the Agency will announce an official comment period and schedule a formal public hearing.


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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