MJ Eckhouse, February 13, 2020
Today, the 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. After an opportunity for the public to comment, the Ohio EPA plans to submit this report to US EPA Region 5 for their approval by April 1, 2020. As part of this report, the agency is committing to develop a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Lake Erie’s Western Basin over the next two to three years. The TMDL process occurs for waterways that are designated as impaired within this water quality report. The Agency had designated the Western Basin as impaired due to the occurrences of harmful algae and microcystin in both the 2016 and the 2018 reports.
The following quote can be attributed in full or in part to Pete Bucher, Managing Director of Water Policy, Ohio Environmental Council:
“All Ohioans deserve clean water. While there is a tremendous amount of good work going on to clean up our waterways, we have a lot left to do to improve the long term health of Lake Erie. Last year, the fifth largest harmful algal bloom on record occurred in the Western Basin of Lake Erie and many Toledo residents still live in fear of contaminated drinking water following the Toledo Water Crisis.
“In conjunction with Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio program, this TMDL signals another step in the right direction to meet our phosphorus reduction commitments and ensure clean water for all. We appreciate the Governor’s leadership to improve water quality in the state and look forward to working with the Administration and stakeholders to protect people and the environment.
“As climate change continues to impact our communities, Ohio’s harmful algae problems become even more complex and urgent. We must continue to pursue an all-of-the-above approach that is science-based and forward-thinking to support improved water quality throughout the state.”
The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) is the state’s most comprehensive, effective and respected environmental advocate for a healthier, more sustainable Ohio. The OEC develops and ensures the implementation of forward-thinking, science-based, pragmatic solutions to secure healthy air, land and water for all who call Ohio home. Learn more at theoec.org.