Clean Water

Drinking Water

Ohioans and Americans across the nation are faced with an ever increasing assortment and number of threats to their drinking water supplies. Threats caused by:

  • Poor and inadequate protection of source drinking water;
  • An aging and failing water infrastructure system that is in a state of degradation and despair;
  • Woefully inadequate processes that protect drinking water supplies;
  • Scarce and uncertain funding streams necessary to provide water distribution systems and consumers with the resources needed to ensure safe drinking water

These issues are further complicated by issues of water access and affordability, alterations on the land, and other related environmental hazards that run the risk of affecting water supplies.   

Using participatory action research, technical and scientific data, legislative initiatives, legal proceedings, administrative engagement, and education of Ohioans -decision makers and citizens alike – the OEC works to ensure Ohioans have access to safe, clean, trustworthy drinking water supplies.


Safe drinking water requires protection from the source to the consumer. Part of that process is ensuring the infrastructure responsible for delivering drinking water and removing wastewater is well maintained. Ohio’s estimated drinking water and wastewater infrastructure needs exceed $12.2 billion and $14 billion, respectively.

Ohioans deserve safe drinking water and rely on government at all levels to protect them:

  • The federal government sets minimum drinking water standards for contaminants and serves as a backstop to water quality
  • The State carries out primary enforcement responsibility to make sure all Ohio’s public water facilities are in compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and establishes standards well beyond federal minimum requirements
  • Localities develop plans to help reduce pollution and contamination of streams, lakes, and aquifers.


Water quality and safety begins at the source. Source water protection requires action at every level of government to ensure that surface and groundwater–collectively, the “source” drinking water supplies– are protected.

  • The federal government sets minimal water ambient quality standards for pollutants in surface water supplies.
  • The State, carries out primary enforcement responsibility to make sure Ohio’s water quality standards are maintained through the issuance of wastewater treatment plant permits and pollutant discharge permits which allow for discharge into waterways.
  • Localities develop plans to help reduce pollution and contamination of streams, lakes, and aquifers.  


The mere threat to water quality or potential for a water crisis caused by lack of access to a safe and clean water supply can undermine consumers’ trust in their water supply. A full-blown crisis, like the one that occurred August 2014 in Toledo, has long lasting effects on consumers’ trust in municipalities and facilities to provide drinkable water.

Ohio’s water supplies must not only have a stamp of approval for quality– making it fit to drink; Ohioans must be able to:

  • Trust the messengers responsible for communicating to the public water safety;
  • Have access to data that makes it easy to fact-check these messages; and
  • Attend training and learning opportunities to be better stewards of the environment and consumers of water related knowledge.  


Ohioan families must not only know that their source water is protected, their water infrastructure systems are top-notch, and the water from their faucet is safe, but that water will be accessible, also.

Access to water means the water is:

  • Consistently delivered through water infrastructure without shutdowns or shutoffs.
  • Seen as a right and a necessity that is, therefore, affordable.