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. In order to reach us, 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.

To report a spill or environmental emergency, contact the spill hotline (800) 282-9378 or (614) 224-0946



3/23/16
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Heidi Griesmer
CITIZEN CONTACT: Mike Settles

Ohio EPA Decision Clears Way For Cleveland Harbor Dredging

Keeping Waterway Open to Shipping Traffic Essential to Regional Economy

No Open Lake Disposal Allowed

Ohio EPA approved a request by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the Cleveland Harbor and Cuyahoga River, which is essential to allowing shipping traffic to continue using this economically important waterway. No dredged material can be placed in the open lake.

Ohio EPA’s Section 401 water quality certification allows the Army Corps to dredge up to 225,000 cubic yards of material from six miles of the Cuyahoga River and deposit it in the designated confined disposal facilities, as it has done since the early 1970s.

“We expect the Army Corps to dredge the entire navigation channel to keep the first six miles of the Cuyahoga River open for shipping traffic,” said Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler. “As long as sediments pose an unacceptable risk to Lake Erie, all sediment should be disposed of in the Cleveland confined disposal facilities at full federal expense.”

The water quality certification complies with Ohio’s regulations prohibiting the open lake disposal of dredge material in Lake Erie if the dredge material would result in higher levels of a chemical in fish that bioaccumulates throughout the food chain, such as PCBs, or the disposal of dredge material would violate any international treaties or compacts. These requirements are part of the state’s Coastal Management Program, which is enforced through the federal Coastal Zone Management Act. 

Ohio EPA did not authorize open-lake placement of the dredge material this year because, along with other reasons, the Agency determined that the Corps’ proposal would result in an increase in PCB bioaccumulation in fish. This is a concern because Lake Erie already has fish consumption advisories due to legacy PCB contamination and PCB bioaccumulation.

Ohio EPA will continue to work with the Corps, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and other interested parties to develop appropriate long-term strategies for managing, and the beneficial use of, material generated by future dredging activities.

Ohio EPA held a public meeting on March 10, 2016, in Parma to discuss the issue and take public comments. Issuance of the final certification can be appealed to the Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC).

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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.

 
 800-282-9378