Ohio Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report

To view the draft 2014 Integrated Report, please see the 2014 tab below.

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.

The current Integrated Report is available in the “2012” tab below.  U.S. EPA approved Ohio’s 2012 Section 303(d) list on May 8, 2012.

Human Health Use (Fish Tissue)

The 2012 human health use (fish tissue) results are not appreciably different from the 2010 results.  Fish tissue data have been assessed in nearly every major (8 digit) hydrologic unit in Ohio.  Between one quarter and one third of the watershed assessment units assessed for human health use are in attainment of that 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 0% at Kelleys Island State Park beach to nearly 50% at Euclid State Park beach.  Generally, beaches located near population centers tend to have the most problems.

For inland streams, bacteria levels were low in about one in ten watersheds.  About three in ten watersheds had high levels of bacteria.  The remaining six in ten did not have enough data for evaluation.  Ohio’s 23 large rivers fare somewhat better, with about 20% having relatively low bacteria levels and 20% showing higher levels of bacteria.  About 60% did not have enough data collected in the past five years to evaluate.  High bacteria levels are often observed during periods of higher stream flows associated with heavy rains.

Aquatic Life Use

The upward trend in full attainment of the aquatic life use in both watersheds and larger streams continues.  In general, large rivers in Ohio are meeting aquatic life use goals at a much higher percentage than smaller streams.

 

 

Average Percentage of Watersheds

Attainment Percentage of Large Rivers 

Large river assessment units in Ohio reflected a slight decline in percent of monitored miles in full attainment compared to the same statistic reported in the 2010 IR.  Based on monitoring through 2010, the full attainment statistic now stands at 89% (793 of 852 assessed LRAU miles).  The slight decline in full attainment across LRAUs between the 2010 and 2012 IR cycles (93% to 89%) is largely because of new assessments in four large rivers, three of which flow through highly urbanized areas and receive large quantities of flow from wastewater treatment facilities.  The table below shows that all four of the large rivers have improved dramatically since first sampled in the early- to mid-1980s.

Stream

Year Studied

% of Stream
Monitored

% of Aquatic Life Standard

Meeting

Partially
Meeting

Not
Meeting

Sandusky
River

1981/88

78

14

31

55

2009

100

69

1

31

Cuyahoga
River

1984/87

100

0

0

100

2010

95

77

13

10

Scioto River
(middle)

1988

74

21

55

24

2009/10

100

85

8

7

Great Miami
River (lower)

1980/82

100

0

17

83

2009/10

100

80

20

0


The following charts show the progress in attainment status of aquatic life statistics in recent years for both large rivers (upper) and watersheds (lower).

Public Drinking Water Supply Use

There are a total of 124 public water systems with 130 treatment plants using surface water (excluding Ohio River intakes).  Sufficient data were available to evaluate about one-third of the drinking water source waters for nitrate.

The only impaired areas were the Maumee River (the systems for the communities of Defiance, Napoleon, McClure and Bowling Green and the Campbell Soup system) and a portion of the Sandusky River (Fremont).  Some areas were identified for a watch list; all 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.  The primary sources of elevated nitrate are nonpoint source runoff from agricultural land use and home/commercial fertilizer application, failing septic systems and unsewered areas, and wastewater plant discharges.

Pesticides could be evaluated for about 14% of the drinking water source waters.  Five of 18 areas 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.  Thirteen areas were identified for a watch list because of elevated atrazine.  The primary source of atrazine in these watersheds is nonpoint source runoff from agricultural land use.

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

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 2012 Integrated Report contains the most current approved 303(d) list of impaired waters and is on the 2012 tab.

Preparation of 2014 Integrated Report is Underway - Draft Report Now Available

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) Division of Surface Water (DSW) is providing for public review and comment the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) priority list for 2014 as required by Section 303(d) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, 33 U.S.C. Section 1313(d). The list indicates the waters of Ohio that are currently impaired and may require TMDL development in order to meet water quality standards. The waters are ranked according to level of impairment to help indicate which have the greatest need for TMDL development.
 

The list is Section L4 of the 2014 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report which, in accordance with federal guidance, satisfies the Clean Water Act requirements for both Section 305(b) water quality reports and Section 303(d) lists. The report describes the procedure that Ohio EPA used to develop the list and indicates which areas have been selected for TMDL development during FFY 2015 and 2016.

Ohio EPA held a public information session on the 2014 Integrated Report on

February 12, 2014 at 3:00 p.m.

The meeting was held at Ohio EPA, Conference Room A,
50 West Town Street, Suite 700

Interactive Map of Assessment Unit Summaries


The report is available below in Adobe Acrobat format.

Yes. To receive a printed or CD copy, contact the Ohio EPA - DSW reception desk by telephone at (614) 644-2001 and request the report by name in the preferred format.

All interested persons wishing to submit comments for Ohio EPA's consideration may do so by e-mail to:

dsw.webmail@epa.ohio.gov

or in writing to:

Ohio EPA
Division of Surface Water
P.O. Box 1049
Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049
Attn: 303(d) Comments

The deadline for submitting comments is the close of business on Friday, February 28, 2014.  Comments received after this date may be considered as time and circumstances permit.

Your approach would depend on your primary interest - a particular area or watershed, a statewide perspective on water quality, or perhaps an interest in TMDL activity.

For a general overview of water quality conditions and issues in Ohio, consult Section A.

Section K contains a collection of maps that provide an overview of water quality on a statewide basis.

Those with an interest in Ohio's response to the Clean Water Act requirements or the TMDL program should start with the report text in Sections B through J.

A 13-page "plain English" overview is included in the 2012 Integrated Report (Section A). The overview reports statewide observations for the four beneficial uses and discusses the common causes and sources of water quality problems in Ohio.

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 those areas are monitored again (see Section G).
  • The assessment methodology 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).

Ohio is removing 282 assessment units and adding 177 units based on these four reasons:

  • Change in methodology:  either due to (1) continuation of the change to smaller assessment units introduced in 2010 (for aquatic life use only), or (2) new consideration of algae (public drinking water supply use only)
  • Flaw in original listing:  reason noted for each change.  Most of the changes are for the Human Health Use (fish tissue) and are due to the reassignment of data from watershed assessment units to large river assessment units.  The data were collected in the large rivers and should not have been included in the previous watershed AU analyses.
  • New data:  the assessment and interpretation of more recent data
  • TMDL approved:  approval by U.S. EPA of a TMDL
Most of the changes are in watersheds with recent monitoring and/or TMDL activity.  See Tables J-7 through J-13 for specific removals and additions.


To ask technical questions regarding the Integrated Report or to arrange to inspect Agency files or records pertaining to the list or report, please contact:

Trinka Mount
Supervisor, TMDL Coordination
Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water
trinka.mount@epa.ohio.gov
(614) 644-2146


Click here for 2012 assessment unit
summaries (available only online).

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.

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.


Click here for 2010 assessment unit
summaries (available only online).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Several maps illustrate the information in the report and tables:

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

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:

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.

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.


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.