U.S. EPA Approves Report about Small Tributaries to Lake Erie, Maumee River

An Ohio EPA a water quality report about tributary streams to the lower Maumee River and Lake Erie was approved recently by U.S. EPA. The Ohio EPA report discusses stream impairments and suggests actions that can be taken to eliminate problems.

Stream data was collected in 2006 and 2008 and a contractor analyzed the data. The study included streams feeding the lower Maumee River and streams between the Maumee and Toussaint rivers that drain to Lake Erie, an area of approximately 282 square miles in Lucas, Wood and Ottawa counties.

A leading cause of water quality impairment is bacteria from poorly treated sewage from home septic systems, small wastewater treatment plants and unsewered communities. Other common impairments are attributed to nutrient and sediment loadings from both rural and urban storm water runoff and stream channelization.

Several government and community groups have water quality improvement projects underway, including Partners for Clean Streams, Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments and the Duck and Otter Creek Partnership.

The report suggests a number of actions that can improve water quality:

  • Repair or replace failing home septic systems and investigate the feasibility of connecting unsewered communities to existing public sewer systems.
  • Install grassed waterways and effective hydraulic buffers to slow sheet storm water runoff and filter sediment.
  • Promote decentralized storm water practices to reduce sediment in storm water runoff and improve infiltration of storm water into the ground.

Ohio is required by the federal Clean Water Act to identify waters that do not meet water quality standards and develop methods to bring the affected waters into compliance. This is known as the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program, which calculates the maximum amount of pollutants a water body can receive on a daily basis without violating water quality standards. The TMDL program can improve the quality of a stream by taking a comprehensive look at all pollution sources.


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. In the past 40 years, 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. Ohio EPA….40 years and moving forward.

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