6/16/20
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Ohio EPA Accepting Public Comments About Plan to Study Large Rivers 

Ohio EPA is accepting public comments regarding the Agency’s plan to study the state’s largest rivers in 2020-21. Comments will be accepted through July 8, 2020.

Large rivers are waterways that drain more than 500 square miles of land. This is the first year of Ohio EPA’s statewide look at the state’s largest rivers. Results will serve as a baseline for comparisons in future studies.

The proposed large river study plan includes Big Darby, Big Walnut, Killbuck, Paint, Raccoon, Sandy, Salt, and Wills creek, and the Auglaize, Blanchard, Cuyahoga, Grand, Great and Little Miami, Hocking, Licking, Mad, Mahoning, Maumee, Mohican, Muskingum, Sandusky, Scioto, St. Joseph, Stillwater, Tiffin, Tuscarawas, Walhonding, and Whitewater river watersheds.

The federal Clean Water Act requires states to prepare cleanup plans for waterbodies 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 study plan is the first step in this five-step process.

When the plan is ready, the next step is a biological and water quality study of the rivers. The study is designed to assess the effects of various land uses, evaluate the influences of agricultural, industrial, and commercial discharges and spills, and assess the performance of permitted wastewater treatment plants. The study also evaluates the quality of fish and macroinvertebrate communities in the streams, compares results with historic conditions, and determines if streams are meeting designated aquatic life and human recreation uses.

Findings in the study will be developed into a TMDL report with recommendations for actions needed to address any water quality impairments. Ohio EPA works with local communities and watershed groups to implement projects and strategies to achieve water quality goals.

Ohio EPA invites public comments on the proposed study plan. Comments may be submitted to EPATMDL@epa.ohio.gov through July 8. Further details about the proposed study plan, including a map and fact sheet, are available online. Subscribe here for updates on this and other Ohio EPA Total Maximum Daily Load projects.

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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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