Ohio Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report

The Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report (also called the Integrated Report) indicates the general condition of Ohio's waters and identifies waters that are not meeting water quality goals. The report satisfies the Clean Water Act requirements for both Section 305(b) for biennial reports on the condition of the State's waters and Section 303(d) for a prioritized list of impaired waters. For each impaired water, Ohio EPA typically prepares a total maximum daily load (TMDL) analysis.

 

Ohio EPA submitted the final 2016 Integrated Report to U.S. EPA for approval on Oct. 20, 2016; U.S. EPA has taken no action on the report to date. The final report as submitted is available on the 2016 tab below.

Summary of 2016 Report

Human Health Use (Fish Tissue)

Fish tissue data was available for approximately half of Ohio’s watershed assessment units and one-third of publicly-owned lakes. About one-third of monitored watershed assessment units and two-fifths of monitored lakes were unimpaired for this use. PCB contamination, primarily a result of historic industrial sources and old landfill discharges, is the cause of most of the human health use impairments. Mercury is the second leading cause of human health use impairments after PCBs.

Recreation Use

For Lake Erie public beaches, the frequency of swimming advisories varies widely, ranging from near zero at South Bass Island State Park and Battery Park beaches to over 40 percent at Arcadia, Bay View West, Edson Creek, Euclid State Park, Lakeshore Park, Lakeview, Sherod and Villa Angela State Park beaches. Generally, beaches located near population centers tend to have the most problems.

For inland streams, approximately half of the total assessment units had sufficient data to determine the recreation use assessment status in 2016. Of the watersheds assessed, 10 percent fully supported the use while 90 percent did not. Increased bacteria levels are often observed during periods of higher stream flows associated with heavy rains. Although not sampled as frequently as streams or Lake Erie beaches, bacteria levels at most inland lake beaches do not frequently exceed the threshold, resulting in fewer postings compared to some of the beaches along Lake Erie.

Aquatic Life Use

Ohio’s large rivers (the 23 rivers that drain more than 500 square miles) reflected a small decline in percent of monitored miles in full attainment compared to the same statistic reported in the 2014 Integrated Report. This is due to the inclusion of new data from two rivers considered historical status (i.e., previous data not used) in past reports. Both had been greatly impaired in the past, but are now showing vastly increased miles meeting goals. However, the percent of miles remaining impaired slightly lowered the overall large river full attainment statistic.

Based on monitoring through 2014, Ohio’s large river assessment unit full attainment statistic now stands at 87.4 percent (down 1.8 percent from the 89.2 percent that was shown in the 2014 report). The table below shows the status of the four large rivers recently sampled, particularly the improvement in the Maumee and Tiffin Rivers since the mid to late 1990s.

Public Drinking Water Supply Use

There are a total of 119 public water systems using surface water (excluding Ohio River intakes). Sufficient data were available to evaluate 43 percent of the drinking water source waters for nitrate.

The only nitrate impaired areas were the Maumee River (the systems for the communities of Defiance, Napoleon, McClure, Wauseon, Bowling Green and the Campbell Soup system) and a portion of the Sandusky River (Fremont). Some areas were identified for a watch list; most were located in the northwestern and central parts of the state. It is difficult and expensive to remove nitrate from drinking water; some systems are conducting nitrate removal pilot studies, but no Ohio surface water systems currently use treatment specific for nitrate removal. Ohio public water systems rely on blending the surface water with other sources such as ground water, selective pumping from the stream to avoid high nitrate levels by using off-stream storage in upground reservoirs or issue public notice advisories warning sensitive populations to avoid drinking the water while nitrate levels are high.

Pesticides could be evaluated for about 21 percent of the drinking water source waters. Five of 19 WAUs were identified as impaired, all in southwestern Ohio: one in Brown County (Mt. Orab); one in Miami County (Piqua); and the three sources used by the Village of Blanchester in Warren and Clinton counties. Eighteen areas were identified for a watch list because of elevated atrazine.

Since the end of the last report cycle, incidents of harmful algal blooms (HABs) impacting Ohio public drinking water supplies have greatly increased. Sufficient data were available to list 19 AUs (15 percent) as impaired. The impairment listing includes the entire Lake Erie Western Basin shoreline, Lake Erie Central Basin shoreline and Lake Erie Island shoreline AUs. In addition, 15 WAUs are now assessed as impaired. These include water supply sources in Lima (Allen County); Bowling Green (Wood County); Clyde (Sandusky County); Norwalk (Huron County), Akron and Barberton (Summit County); Woodsfield (Monroe County); Cadiz (Harrison County); Celina (Mercer County); the Wyanoka Regional Water District (Sardinia – Brown and Harrison Counties); and Clermont County. One large river AU was identified as impaired for algae: Maumee River Mainstem in Bowling Green (Wood County). Sixteen WAUs and three LRAUs are on the algae watchlist.

History

Section 305(b) of the Clean Water Act requires states to produce "Water Quality Inventories" that assess progress in achieving the objectives of the Act.  Since the first Ohio 305(b) report was produced in 1988, the reports have evolved to reflect program advances and changes in federal guidance.

In 1990, Ohio changed the title of the report from "Water Quality Inventory" to "Water Resource Inventory."  The change reflects an ecosystems emphasis rather than reliance on water chemistry alone.  The effects of human activity on aquatic ecosystems are broad, and extend beyond water chemistry to include physical and biological impacts.  While chemical water quality remains an important component, it is necessary to consider additional impacts if the Clean Water Act goals of protecting and rehabilitating aquatic resources are to be realized.  Using the 305(b) reports, Ohio EPA prepared lists of impaired waters (Section 303(d) lists) in 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1998.

Federal guidance issued in November 2001 recommended that States prepare Integrated Reports that would satisfy the Clean Water Act requirements for both Section 305(b) water quality reports and Section 303(d) lists.  In 2002, Ohio produced its first Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report and continues this practice today.  Reporting on Ohio's water resources continues to develop, including more data types and more refined methodologies.  The basic framework for this report is built on four beneficial uses:

  • Aquatic life
  • Recreation
  • Human health
  • Public drinking water supply

Finding Information on this Page

The reports are organized in tabs below, described here:

  • Earlier versions of the Section 305(b) water quality reports, also known as Water Resource Inventories, are on the Ohio Water Resource Inventories tab.
  • Integrated Reports from 2002 through 2008 are combined into one tab.  For each of these report cycles, the watershed assessment unit was the 11-digit hydrologic unit.
  • The 2010 Integrated Report contained numerous changes to the methodologies and a change in the size of the watershed assessment unit from the 11-digit hydrologic unit to the 12-digit hydrologic unit.  A summary of the changes made, as well as access to the report, are available in the 2010 tab.
  • The 2014 Integrated Report contains the most current approved 303(d) list of impaired waters and is on the 2014 tab.

The Integrated Report meets both Clean Water Act 305(b) and 303(d) requirements, using a watershed assessment unit based on the 12-digit hydrologic unit.

Changes made between the 2014 Integrated Report and the 2016 Integrated Report are minor.

  • Analysis and listing changes are based on data collected during 2013 and 2014 for all uses; recreation and public drinking water supplies uses also included data from 2015, therefore impairment listings may not reflect current conditions.
  • The Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) information has been moved from Section I to Section C (Section C7).
  • The report contains a new subsection dedicated to Ohio’s 303(d)/TMDL Program Vision (Section C8).
  • Information was added to the end of Section H regarding an error that was discovered in the 2014 list pertaining to improperly listed PDWS use waters.
  • A description of “Near Term Priorities for Ohio EPA” was added to Section J2.
  • The report contains a new subsection discussing Ohio’s approach to addressing nutrients in Lake Erie (See Section J3), and Lake Erie information has been added or moved to Sections C and D (see Section C1 and Section D3).
  • Section L5 – Monitoring and TMDL Schedules for Ohio’s Watershed and Large River Assessment Units – was removed from the report; consequently, previous section “L6” was re-numbered/labeled.

Ohio EPA presented information about the list through a webinar on Aug.16, 2016, at 2 p.m. The webinar is available for viewing online or you may view the presentation slides.

Interactive Map of Assessment Unit Summaries

For more information, contact:
Rahel Babb
TMDL Coordinator
(614) 728-2384

Report

The report is available in its entirety here. Due to file compression, the image quality may be poor. For the best quality images, use the individual sections available below in Adobe Acrobat format. Results summaries for individual assessment units are available via the interactive map online.

The Integrated Report meets both Clean Water Act 305(b) and 303(d) requirements, using a watershed assessment unit based on the 12-digit hydrologic unit.

Changes made between the 2012 Integrated Report and the 2014 Integrated Report are minor.

  • Analysis and listings are based on more recent data (collected over the past two years).
  • For the aquatic life use, the transition that began in 2010 of translating data evaluated at the 11-digit hydrologic unit (HU) size to the smaller 12-digit HU size continued. The few remaining relic categories will be dealt with as the areas are monitored again (see Section G).
  • The assessment methdology for the public drinking water supply (PDWS) beneficial use was revised to include a new core indicator based on algae and associated cyanotoxins. The original 2006 PDWS assessment methodology identified algae as a possible supplemental indicator, but assessment units were not listed as impaired due to algae until now (see Section H).
  • The report contains a new section on Lake Erie monitoring and assessment (see Section I5).
  • The report contains an expanded discussion of wetlands in Ohio (see Section I1).

Interactive Map of Assessment Unit Summaries

Report

The report is available below in Adobe Acrobat format. Results summaries for individual assessment units are available via the interactive map online. 

  • Section C: Managing Water Quality
    • C1: Program Summary – Surface Water
    • C2: Program Summary – Environmental and Financial Assistance
    • C3: Program Summary – Drinking and Ground Waters
    • C4: Program Summary – Environmental Services
    • C5: Cooperation among State Agencies and Departments
    • C6: Funding Sources for Pollution Controls
  • Section D: Framework for Reporting and Evaluation
    • D1: Assessment Units
    • D2: Ohio’s Water Quality Standards Use Designations
    • D3: Sources of Existing and Readily Available Data
    • D4: Evaluation of the Ohio River
    • D5: Public Involvement in Compiling Ohio’s Section 303(d) List of Impaired Waters
    • D6: Public Comments and Responses to Comments on Draft Report
  • Section M: An Overview of Ground Water Quality in Ohio
    • M1: Introduction
    • M2: Ohio’s Ground Water Programs
    • M3: Ohio’s Major Aquifers
    • M4: Facility Specific Ground Water Contamination Summary
    • M5: Major Sources of Ground Water Contamination
    • M6: Summary of Ground Water Quality by Aquifer
    • M7: Ground Water-Surface Water Interaction
    • M8: Conclusions and Future Directions for Ground Water Protection

 

This integrated report meets both Clean Water Act 305(b) and 303(d) requirements, using a watershed assessment unit based on the 12-digit hydrologic unit.

2012 assessment unit summaries (available only online).

Changes made between the 2010 Integrated Report and the 2012 Integrated Report were minor.

  • Analysis and listings are based on recent data (collected over the past two years).
  • Forty beaches along Lake Erie’s shoreline were added to the beach analysis in Section F.
  • For the aquatic life use, the transition that began in 2010 of translating data evaluated at the 11-digit hydrologic unit (HU) size to the smaller 12-digit HU size continued.  The few remaining relic categories will be dealt with as those areas are monitored again.
  • Approximately two years of E. coli data from facilities are available for the recreation use evaluation (no facility data were available in 2010 because of the WQS change from fecal coliform to E. coli).  More data will be available in future IR cycles.
  • A new subcategory “t” was defined to indicate those areas where a TMDL has been completed and information suggests that the 4A category may not tell the whole story.
  • New 2020 water quality goals are established for all four beneficial uses included in the IR.

Report

This integrated report meets both Clean Water Act 305(b) and 303(d) requirements, using a watershed assessment unit based on the 12-digit hydrologic unit.

While the overall approach to the report was the same as the past few reporting cycles, Ohio EPA made significant changes to the report.

2010 assessment unit summaries (available only online).

Listing by Beneficial Use

The most profound change to the 2010 Integrated Report was the change from listing by assessment unit to listing by each of the four beneficial uses within an assessment unit.  In past reports, an impairment of one beneficial use caused the assessment unit to be listed as impaired regardless of the status of other uses.  In the 2010 report, Ohio listed by beneficial use within each assessment unit, so uses that were attaining water quality standards and those with no data to assess were removed from the list of impaired waters (i.e., “delisted”).  In general, listing by use allows more information to be transmitted and presents a more accurate picture of water quality in Ohio.

Size of Assessment Units

Ohio continued to use a watershed-based listing approach, but shifted to a smaller watershed assessment unit size.  Some of the large river units were split into smaller pieces.  Reporting at a finer scale allows a more refined picture of water quality in Ohio – just as a photograph with more “pixels” results in a clearer picture.  To accommodate this change, methodologies for each of the listed uses – aquatic life, recreation, human health (via fish tissue), public drinking water supply – were revised.

Recreation Use Methodology

Several significant changes were made to the recreation use methodology.  First, the methodology is changing from a pooled to a site-by-site analysis, similar to that used for the aquatic life use.  The indicator organism shifted from fecal coliform to E. coli, which aligned with Ohio’s new water quality standards for recreation use.

Human Health Methodology

The methodology for the human health use (using fish tissue contaminant samples) was changed to be consistent with the methodology described in U.S. EPA’s 2009 guidance for implementing the methylmercury water quality criterion.

Report Format

Having more assessment units necessitated a change in how the report is presented.  Past reports included about 100 pages of text, about 100 pages of summary tables, and detailed summary sheets for each of the 357 assessment units (watershed, large river and Lake Erie).  For the 2010 report, the detailed summaries of assessment units alone would number more than 1,600 pages.  The report will continue to be available both in paper and electronic formats.  The detailed assessment unit information will be available only online.

New Content

For the first time in many years, the report included a section on ground water quality in Ohio.  The report also previewed a possible methodology for including lakes in the aquatic life use listing decisions in 2012 (if rules are adopted).  Looking further into the future, the report included more discussion of wetlands, including possible pathways to including wetlands in future listing decisions.

Report

These integrated reports meet both Clean Water Act 305(b) and 303(d) requirements, using a watershed assessment unit based on the 11-digit hydrologic unit.  Reports are separated by year.

2002

Several maps illustrate the information in the report and tables:

Individual pages from Table 1 and Appendix C are available via clickable maps:

2004

Main Text

2004 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report [PDF 1,050K]

Appendices

Appendix A.  Supplemental Materials: Consideration of Fish Consumption Advisory Information in Compiling Ohio’s Section 303(d) List of Impaired Waters [PDF 24K]. Appendix A consists of:

  • Cover page
  • Appendix A.1.  Calculation of Fish Concentrations from Water Quality Standard Inputs
  • Appendix A.2.  Mercury Data from 20 Lakes and Rivers in the Lake Erie Basin with Water Body Specific FCAs
  • Appendix A.3.  List of FCA Waters in U.S. EPA Decision Document, Partial Approval/Disapproval of Ohio’s 2002 303(d) List
Appendix B.  Summary Tables of Water Body Conditions, List of Prioritized Impaired Waters, and Monitoring and TMDL Schedules. Appendix B consists of:

Appendix C. Supplemental Materials: Public Involvement and Participation in Compiling Ohio’s Section 303(d) List of Impaired Waters [PDF 426K]. Appendix C consists of:

  • Cover page
  • Appendix C.1.  Summary of Listing Recommendations of the Ohio TMDL External Advisory Group
  • Appendix C.2.  Solicitation for External Water Quality Data, 2004 Integrated Report Project (August 26, 2003)
  • Appendix C.3.  Web Pages Announcing 2004 IR Preparation
  • Appendix C.4.  Initial Comments on FCA Methods
  • Appendix C.5.  Notice of Availability and Request for Comments FWPCA Section 303(d) TMDL Priority List for 2004; List of Newspapers Publishing Notice
  • Appendix C.6.  Public Comments and Response to Comments
Appendix D. Water Body Assessment Unit Results. Appendix D consists of:

2006

Main Text

2006 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report [PDF 1,164K]

Maps

Appendices

Appendix A  Supplemental Information [PDF 71K]. Appendix A consists of:

  • A.1  Calculation of Fish Concentrations from Water Quality Standard Inputs
  • A.2  Detailed Methodology for Use of Fish Tissue Contaminant Data
  • A.3  What’s the Difference Between the Fish Consumption Advisory Decision and the Impairment Decision?
  • A.4  Waters with Current Fish Tissue Data Where Inadequate Samples Exist to Determine Level of Impairment
  • A.5  Waters with Only Historical Fish Tissue Data

Appendix B  Public Involvement in Compiling Ohio’s Section 303(d) List of Impaired Waters [PDF 1,080K]. Appendix B consists of:

  • B.1  Summary of Listing Recommendations of the Ohio TMDL External Advisory Group
  • B.2  Solicitation for External Water Quality Data, 2006 Integrated Report Project (December 6, 2005)
  • B.3  Web Page Announcing 2006 IR Preparation
  • B.4  Notice of Availability and Request for Comments FWPCA Section 303(d) TMDL Priority List for 2006
  • B.5  Public Comments and Response to Comments

Appendix C  Assessment Methodology and Standards for Protection of the Public Drinking Water Supply Beneficial Use [PDF 642K]

Appendix D  Summary Tables of Water Body Conditions, List of Prioritized Impaired Waters, and Monitoring and TMDL Schedules [PDF 139K]. Appendix D consists of:

  • D.1  Status by Assessment Unit Type
  • D.1.1  Status of Watershed Assessment Units
  • D.1.2  Status of Large River Assessment Units
  • D.1.3  Status of Lake Erie Assessment Units
  • D.2  Section 303(d) List of Prioritized Impaired Waters (Category 5) [PDF 47K]
  • D.3  Monitoring and TMDL Schedules for Ohio’s Watershed and Large River Assessment Units

Appendix E  Water Body Assessment Unit Results

Maps of the Assessment Units
Note: these maps were made available for the 2002 report and have not changed.

2008

Main Text

Cover, Table of Contents, Acronyms

Section A: An Overview of Water Quality in Ohio: 2008

Section B: Ohio’s Water Resources. Section B consists of:

  • B1: Facts and Figures
  • B2: General summary of condition: progress toward the “80% by 2010” goal

Section C: Managing Water Quality. Section C consists of:

  • C1: Program Summary – Surface Water
  • C2: Program Summary – Environmental and Financial Assistance
  • C3: Program Summary – Drinking and Ground Waters
  • C4: Program Summary – Environmental Services
  • C5: Cooperation among State Agencies and Departments
  • C6: Economic Costs and Benefits of Pollution Controls

Section D: Framework for Reporting and Evaluation. Section D consists of:

  • D1: Assessment Units
  • D2: Ohio’s WQS Use Designations
  • D3: Sources of Existing and Readily Available Data
  • D4: Evaluation of the Ohio River
  • D5: Public Involvement in Compiling Ohio’s Section 303(d) List of Impaired Waters

    • D5.1: Solicitation for External Water Quality Data, 2008 Integrated Report Project
    • D5.2: Web Page Announcing 2008 IR Preparation
    • D5.3: Notice of Availability and Request for Comments FWPCA Section 303(d) TMDL Priority List for 2008
  • D6: Public Comments and Responses to Comments on Draft Report

Section E: Evaluating Beneficial Use: Human Health (Fish Contaminants). Section E consists of:

  • E1: Background
  • E2: Evaluation Method and Rationale
  • E3: Results
  • E4: Supplemental Information
    • E4.1: Calculation of Fish Concentrations from Water Quality Standards Inputs
    • E4.2: What’s the Difference between the Fish Consumption Advisory Decision and the Impairment Decision?

Section F: Evaluating Beneficial Use: Recreation. Section F consists of:

  • F1: Background
  • F2: Evaluation Method
  • F3: Results

Section G: Evaluating Beneficial Use: Aquatic Life. Section G consists of:

  • G1: Background and Rationale
  • G2: Evaluation Method
  • G3: Results

Section H: Evaluating Beneficial Use: Public Drinking Water Supply. Section H consists of:

  • H1: Background
  • H2: Evaluation Method
  • H3: Results
  • H4: Supplemental Information

Section I: Considerations for Future Lists. Section I consists of:

  • I1: Wetlands
  • I2: Inland Lakes and Reservoirs
  • I3: Mercury Program at Ohio EPA
    • I3.1: Ohio Law
    • I3.2: Ohio Projects
    • I3.3: Interagency Groups
    • I3.4: Ohio Resources
  • I4: Preview of Potential 2010 Methodology

    • I4.1: Human Health (Fish Contaminants)
    • I4.2: Recreation
    • I4.3: Aquatic Life
    • I4.4: Public Drinking Water Supply

Section J: Addressing Waters Not Meeting Water Quality Goals. Section J consists of:

  • J1: Assigning Waters to Categories
  • J2: Prioritizing the Impaired Waters: the 303(d) List
  • J3: Removing Waters from the 303(d) List
  • J4: Schedule for TMDL Work

Section K: Maps. Section K consists of:

Section L: Summary Tables of Waterbody Conditions, List of Prioritized Impaired Waters, and Monitoring and TMDL Schedules. Section L consists of:

Section M: Water Body Assessment Unit Results. Section M consists of:

References

Maps of the Assessment Units
Note: these maps were made available for the 2002 report and have not changed.

The intent is for the 305(b) report to be a routine check on the progress that states are making toward achieving the goals of the Clean Water Act.  These reports focus on examining water resource quality over time and examining the effectiveness of water quality management programs.


1994

1996

1998

The 1998 305(b) report is an addendum to the 1996 report that provides an update (adds 1995 and 1996 water year data) to the aquatic life statistics reported in the 1996 document.  The 1996 report should still be used for its in-depth discussion of the status and trends in water quality in Ohio and a summary of the various water quality management programs areas.  The three fact sheets listed here summarize the most current water quality status, a forecast analysis, and the causes and sources of aquatic life impairment in Ohio.  The 1998 appendix document provides stream reach summaries completed (i.e., 1995 and 1996 water years) since the 1996 report.

2000