Public Interest Center

Our office responds to citizen and media inquiries regarding environmental issues and Agency actions. We prepare news releases; facilitate public hearings; and implement public involvement activities for citizen organizations, community leaders and other parties interested in environmental issues. We also oversee publications, produce videos and manage the Agency’s website.

We hope this site makes it easy for you to find the information you need. Please contact us if you have comments or questions.  

The primary responsibilities of this section are to inform the public through the media; they respond to media inquiries; suggest story ideas to reporters; write and distribute news releases; write letters to the editors and columns for the director; and assist employees with media calls. Click here to see a map of the district office boundaries. Click on Contacts to find the Media Relations Coordinator in your region of Ohio. Current News Releases and Archived News Releases for 2012

Online Media Kits 

Director's Columns, Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor

2011 News Releases

2010 News Releases

Public Involvement

Ohio EPA recognizes that its mission and vision cannot be achieved without input from Ohio citizens. The Agency places a high priority on public involvement and encourages citizens to become involved in our decision-making processes.

Public involvement efforts are designed to enable Ohioans to be a part of environmental decisions that affect their life. The Agency offers public hearings, informational meetings, media briefings, advisory board meetings, round table discussions and various publications to educate the public on environmental issues. Each area of the state is served by a public involvement coordinator. Click on Contacts to find the Public Involvement Coordinator in your region of Ohio.

When and where are Ohio EPA's Public Meetings? 
Where can I access public notices on Ohio EPA's actions?
Where can I access Ohio EPA's responses to comments on Agency actions? 
How to I request Public Records and File Reviews?
Where can I find information on Ohio EPA's Rules and Regulations?
How do I submit a complaint?
How do I report a spill? 
How do I get rid of...?


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In one day, the average Ohioan generates almost 10 lbs. of garbage including packaging, bottles, cans, yard waste, food scraps, clothing and other items. Though you may not realize it, the products you buy and throw away have significant impact on the environment. Over the years, consumers have been persuaded that disposable products and throwaway packaging are more attractive and convenient than reusable or durable goods. However, when purchasing reusable and recycled products, we prevent pollution, save energy, conserve resources, reduce pollutants and waste, and lessen exposure to harmful materials. The easiest, most direct way for you to make a difference in your home is to watch what you buy and throw away.

Practice the three R's: first reduce how much you use, then reuse what you can and recycle the rest. Next, dispose of what's left in the most environmentally friendly way. For more information, visit our recycling page or explore the Consumer's Handbook for Reducing Solid Waste.


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Common household products containing hazardous materials can pose a threat to people and the environment, especially when handled or disposed of improperly. Whenever possible, buy the smallest amount of material needed to get the job done or use a less-hazardous alternative in place of the hazardous product.

If you can't use up a product, donate it to someone who can use it. In many cases, even products that have been stored for a few years can still be safely used according to label directions. In addition, some wastes such as used motor oils, solvents and car batteries can be regenerated or recycled.

For more information about how to get rid of some of the more common household hazardous waste, visit our recycling page.

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Other Resources

Find Energy Star products for your home - Choosing energy-efficient products can save families about 30 percent or $400 a year. ENERGY STAR is the government's backed symbol for energy efficiency. The ENERGY STAR label makes it easy to know which products to buy without sacrificing features, style or comfort that you expect.

More steps you can take:

  •  Turn off appliances and lights when you leave the room.
  •  Use the microwave to cook small meals. (It uses less power than an oven.)
  •  Purchase "green power" for your home's electricity. (Contact your power supplier to see where and if it is available.)
  •  Repair leaky air conditioning and refrigeration systems.
  •  Clean or replace furnace and air conditioner filter.
  •  Cut back on air conditioning and heating use.
  •  Install a programmable thermostat in your home.
  •  Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting. An insulating blanket around your water heater will save energy and pay for itself within a year.
  •  Insulate your home, water heater and pipes.
  •  Complete an energy audit if offered by your local energy company.
  •  Use a clothesline when feasible to dry clothes and save electricity.

Choose Water-Efficient Products and Test Your WaterSense - A family of four uses 400 gallons of water every day. U.S. EPA's WaterSense program helps conserve water for future generations by providing information about products and programs that save water without sacrificing performance.

More steps you can take indoors:

  • Don't let the water run while shaving or brushing teeth.
  • Take short showers instead of tub baths.
  • Keep drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool.
  • Scrape, rather than rinse, dishes before loading into the dishwasher; wash only full loads.
  • Wash only full loads of laundry and use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine.
  • Buy high-efficient plumbing fixtures and appliances.
  • Repair all leaks (a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons a day).

Composting leaves and other organic wastes at home is very easy and practical. Once you learn the basic composting method, you can turn out rich compost for use on your property. Using compost yields faster-growing, stronger plants. The chief value in using compost is the beneficial effect on soil structure. Incorporating compost into the soil improves aeration and drainage and makes the soil loose and easy to work.

To help you get started, see Ohio EPA's fact sheet, Composting: A Citizen's Guide to the Proper Disposal of Leaves and Other Organic Materials. For more details, visit the Division of Materials and Waste Management's composting page.

Your Yard and Clean Air - This document provides tips on how you can prevent pollution in your own backyard by adopting practices that will help protect the environment now and in the future.

Lawn and Garden and Tips for a Waste-Free Lawn and Garden - Learn about many things you can do to reduce waste and conserve resources from caring for your lawn and garden equipment, to greenscaping.

Green Landscaping with Native Plants - This site provides a wizard that answers commonly asked questions about landscaping with native wild flowers and grasses in the Great Lakes region.

Natural Landscaping - Online publication explaining natural landscaping ideas.

Greenscaping – U.S. EPA's GreenScapes Program can show you how to reduce the environmental impacts of landscaping your lawn and property by grasscycling, mulching and composting.

More steps you can take:

  • Keep your yard healthy — dethatch, use mulch, etc.
  • Sweep outside instead of using a hose.
  • Landscape using "rain garden" techniques to save water and reduce storm water runoff.
  • Video: "Reduce Runoff: Slow It Down, Spread It Out, Soak It In"
  • Minimize the need for pesticides by choosing plant species that are resistant to insects and disease. Landscaping with native plant species works best. Provide habitats for birds, bats, toads, etc. that prey on insect pests. Introduce praying mantises, lacewings, ladybugs and other pest-eaters to your garden. 
  • Do not over apply pesticides and fertilizers. Follow directions and use judiciously. Pull weeds by hand when possible.
  • Never allow any chemicals, yard wastes or any other materials to be washed town or put into storm drains.
  • Allow roof gutters to drain over your lawn instead of draining directly to the street.
  • Yard and food wastes make up about 28 percent of our household garbage. If you have space, compost these organic materials into fertilizer for your yard and garden.
  • Donate bulky yard debris and leaves to community garden projects or see if your town has a composting or yard waste collection program.
  • Use a mulching lawn mower, or buy a mulching attachment for your current mower. Grass clippings will work their way back into the soil as a natural fertilizer.
  • Reduce non-point source water pollution by minimizing use of fertilizer and pesticide on lawns.

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In open fields, forests and wetlands, most rain is absorbed by the soil or taken up by plants and trees. In developed areas, rain or snow that falls on impermeable roofs, parking lots, streets and lawns is not absorbed. This precipitation (called storm water or storm water runoff) enters local water bodies through storm sewer systems.

According to U.S. EPA’s National Water Quality Inventory, polluted storm water runoff is a leading cause of impairment to U.S. water bodies that do not meet water quality standards — nearly 40 percent of those surveyed. This discharge can destroy fish, wildlife and aquatic life habitats; lessen aesthetic value; and threaten public health with contaminated food, drinking water supplies and recreational waterways. Unlike pollution from sewage treatment plants, storm water pollution comes from many different sources.

Storm water runoff can dissolve, pick up and transport many types of household products that cause this pollution. Automotive waste, lawn chemicals, paints and eroded soil are all pollutants. Many types of litter can create storm water pollution as well.

Check out Storm Water Management: What you can do at home for more information. Communities or businesses with storm water management questions should refer to the Division of Surface Water's storm water program page. More steps you can take:

  • Don't waste water — Water the lawn or garden during the coolest part of the day (early morning is best) and only water plants according to what they need. Check with your local extension service or nurseries for advice.
  • Set sprinklers to water the lawn or garden only — not the street or sidewalk.
  • Use soaker hoses or trickle irrigation systems for trees and shrubs.
  • Keep your yard healthy — dethatch, use mulch, etc.
  • Sweep outside instead of using a hose.
  • Landscape using "rain garden" techniques to save water and reduce storm water runoff.
  • Video: "Reduce Runoff: Slow It Down, Spread It Out, Soak It In"
  • Check with your local soil and water conservation district for rain barrel information and to see if installation assistance is available.
  • Do not over apply pesticides and fertilizers. Follow directions and use judiciously. Pull weeds by hand when possible.
  • Never allow any chemicals, yard wastes or any other materials to be washed town or put into storm drains.
  • Allow roof gutters to drain over your lawn instead of draining directly to the street.
  • Reduce non-point source water pollution by minimizing use of fertilizer and pesticide on lawns.
  • Use a watering gauge when you water your lawn to prevent overwatering.

Automobile fluids from leaks or maintenance changes are another source of water pollution. Each year Americans dump enough used oil in landfills to equal approximately 13 spills the size of the Exxon Valdez spill! Even more oil is disposed of illegally. Much of this oil eventually finds its way into our water. Never put used oil or other chemicals down storm drains or in drainage ditches. One quart of oil can contaminate up to two million gallons of drinking water!

More steps you can take:

  • More than 200 million tires are discarded each year in Ohio. Help reduce this amount and save money by buying high-mileage tires and maintaining proper air pressure. Remember to check your tire pressure monthly.
  • Clean up spilled brake fluid, oil, grease and antifreeze with kitty litter or other absorbent material. Do not hose them into the street where they can eventually reach local streams and lakes.
  • If you change your own oil or antifreeze, be sure to carefully collect all of the used oil or antifreeze in a proper container with a tight-fitting cap, and deliver it to a service or recycling center with the oil filter. Contact your local solid waste management district or call the Ohio Environment Hotline at (800)-CLEANUP to find the nearest collection center for your used automotive fluids.
  • Wash your car only when necessary; use a bucket to save water. Wash your car on a grassy area so the ground can filter the water. Or, go to a commercial car wash that uses water efficiently and disposes of runoff properly.
  • Books For Children — Recommended reading list from Ohio EPA’s Public Interest Center to help children understand the environment. [PDF]
  • U.S. EPA Student Center — Discover the world of things we leave behind. Our waste, garbage, junk and trash must go somewhere. Reducing, reusing and recycling will help us restore and protect our environment.
  • Make Less Waste — Simple guide and activity book for kids shows how backyard composting works and how kids can reduce waste. [PDF]
  • Recycle City — This website is a project of the U.S. EPA’s Region 9 office in San Francisco.

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Public Interest Center 
Hester, Carol Chief (614) 644-2160


Media Relations Section
Griesmer, Heidi Manager, Statewide Issues (614) 644-2160
Oros, Linda Northeast District (614) 644-2160
Lauer, Heather Central and Southeast Districts (614) 644-2160
Pierce, Dina Northwest and Southwest Districts (614) 644-2160


Public Involvement Section
McCarron, Mary Manager, Statewide Issues (614) 644-2160
Settles, Mike Northeast District (614) 644-2160
Kent, Amber Central and Southeast Districts (614) 644-2160
Peelle, Darla Northwest and Southwest Districts (614) 644-2160
Hsieh, Dan Studio, A/V Specialist (614) 644-2160


Print and Electronic Communications Section
Allen, Cathryn Manager (614) 644-2160
Sochor, Kathy Electronic Design Specialist (614) 644-2160


Support Staff
Stills, Sharon Administrative Support to Chief and Print/Electronics Section; Fiscal Officer; Training Coordinator (614) 644-2160
Payne, Paula Office Assistant for Media Relations Staff: news releases, news clips, media lists (614) 644-2160
Brown, Chris Office Assistant for Public Involvement Staff: public meeting materials, citizen mailing lists (614) 644-2160