Carol Hester

Ohio EPA Takes Note of Environmental Improvements on its 40th Anniversary

After 40 years of dedication and hard work to help improve the environment, the state can reflect with pride on the great strides Ohio EPA has made since the Agency was formed on October 23, 1972. Due to the efforts of many, the air and water in our state today are significantly cleaner and while this can be deemed a success, Ohio EPA is focused even more intently on using common sense solutions to make Ohio an even better place to live and work in the next 40 years moving forward.

In a special address to Ohio EPA employees, Gov. John R. Kasich said, “Your efforts have made Ohio a better place to work, a better place live and raise a family. As we continue to grow our economy and create jobs, we’re counting on you to ensure we maintain the proper balance between the protection of our environment and the needs of job creators.”

Ohio EPA Director Scott J. Nally added, “Considering the serious environmental problems Ohio faced in the 1970s, it is truly remarkable how much progress has been made. The investment of time, effort and money has been considerable and it has made a difference. Ohio’s air, land and water are significantly cleaner.”

Here are some indications of success over the past four decades:

  • In the 1980s, 21 percent of big rivers met aquatic life standards. Now, 89 percent meet.
  • Since the 1970s, carbon monoxide in the air is down 80 percent; sulfur dioxide is down 71 percent and lead is down 95 percent.
  • Today, Ohio has 40 licensed, protective landfills instead of 1,300 open dumps.
  • 99 percent of community public water systems now meet health-based standards, up from 85 percent in 1993.
  • A national leader in water monitoring, Ohio EPA has collected and analyzed more than 26,000 fish samples; 12,000 aquatic insect samples; and 100,000 water sediment and wastewater samples.
  • Ohio EPA’s emergency response program was one of only 11 in the U.S. in 1978 and remains a leader.
  • The amount of residential and commercial waste recycled annually jumped from 2.26 million tons in 1990 to 3.5 million tons in 2010.
  • Ohio EPA has funded cleanups of more than 30 million scrap tires.
  • Under Ohio EPA’s voluntary cleanup program, nearly 7,000 acres of blighted land have been revitalized at more than 350 sites.
  • Ohio EPA has awarded more than $22 million in environmental education grants; $7.5 million in grants to clean diesel emissions from school busses; nearly $6 billion to improve wastewater treatment; more than $107 million to improve water quality impaired by polluted runoff and physical alterations; and nearly $890 million to improve drinking water treatment systems.

For more information about Ohio’s environmental progress over the past four decades, visit


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. In the past 40 years, 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. Ohio EPA….40 years and moving forward

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