As a precautionary response to COVID-19, Ohio EPA is currently operating with most staff working remotely. If you are working with our staff on a current project and you know the name of the employee you are working with, email them at firstname.lastname@epa.ohio.gov or call them directly. The Agency website has contact information for every district, division, and office. To report a spill or environmental emergency, contact the spill hotline (800) 282-9378 or (614) 224-0946. This number should only be used for emergencies. For all other calls, please contact Ohio EPA’s main phone line at (614) 644-3020 or the main line for the division or office you are trying to reach.

After March 23, our district offices and Central Office will be temporarily closed and will have increasingly limited ability to receive deliveries, plans, etc. All entities are encouraged to submit plans, permit applications, etc., electronically where there are existing avenues to do so, such as the eBusiness Center (eBiz). Please refer to the list of available services on the main eBiz webpage. We encourage you to make use of all that apply, even if you have not used eBiz in the past. Plans under 25 MB can be emailed. For large plans over 25 MB, entities should work with the reviewer/division to upload via LiquidFiles. Directions for submitting docs via LiquidFiles is available on YouTube. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you in advance for your understanding. If you wish to send hard copies of documents to any of Ohio EPA’s district offices, the best method to ensure we receive these documents is to send them via U.S. Mail. Since all offices are closed, deliveries outside of U.S. Mail (FedEx, UPS) will likely be returned because the offices are closed and deliveries cannot be made.



7/20/20
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Dina Pierce
CITIZEN CONTACT: Mary McCarron

Ohio EPA Accepting Public Comments About Multi-Watershed Plan to Address Bacteria Impairments 

       
Ohio EPA is accepting public comments regarding a proposal to address bacteria contamination in streams around the state with a multi-watershed improvement plan. Comments will be accepted through Sept. 2, 2020.

The federal Clean Water Act requires states to prepare plans for watersheds that do not meet water quality goals. These plans, known as Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) reports, contain recommendations to address water quality impairments and restore streams to Clean Water Act goals.

The recreational use standard, which is based on bacteria levels, is one of the water quality goals Ohio waterways should meet. Rivers and streams should be safe for recreational activities such as swimming, wading, boating, canoeing, and kayaking.  

Ohio EPA conducts water quality studies across the state that includes sampling for bacteria. The Agency uses bacteria as an indicator of potential risk to pathogen exposure.  Common sources of bacteria in rivers and streams include discharges from wastewater treatment plants, failing home sewage treatment systems and unsewered communities, combined sewer overflows/sanitary sewer overflows, illicit discharges, livestock waste, and animal influences including migrating waterfowl.

The proposed approach would streamline bacteria TMDL development, allowing solutions to be designed and implemented for multiple watersheds at the same time rather than addressing watershed basins individually.

Currently, 77 percent of watersheds that have been studied by Ohio EPA do not meet recreational use standards due to bacteria contamination from human and/or animal waste. Ohio EPA has completed TMDL reports for 26 percent of these watersheds. The Agency plans to use the multi-watershed approach to develop TMDLs for another 31 percent of these watersheds. The list of watersheds is available here.

Ohio EPA will continue to monitor bacteria in streams to determine whether water quality is improving where TMDL recommendations are implemented.

Ohio EPA invites public comments on the multi-watershed bacteria TMDL project plan. Comments may be submitted to EPATMDL@epa.ohio.gov through Sept. 2, 2020. A fact sheet about the plan, including links to additional information, is available online.

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The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.

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