Regarding Ohio’s 2018 Integrated Report required under the Clean Water Act, Mayor Kapszukiewicz released the following statement:

 

“I am pleased the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Ohio Governor John Kasich decided to declare Ohio’s portion of Lake Erie’s open waters impaired under the federal Clean Water Act. The step announced today is the most significant policy development in Ohio since the Toledo water crisis of 2014.

This decision is the right one and a great first step. Governor Kasich and EPA Director Craig Butler should be congratulated for the leadership they showed by taking this necessary step. Additionally, I want to thank Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, and Congressman Bob Latta for their work to secure $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

It is also important that a bill will be introduced in Columbus to include fertilizer as a pollutant for Lake Erie. This can help start a process toward turning a corner on the toxic algae problem in Lake Erie. We look forward to urging our legislators to follow up on this proposal.

In 2015, Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario signed the Western Basin of Lake Erie Collaborative Agreement, which calls for a 40 percent reduction by 2025 of the total phosphorus loads, which are fueling toxic algae in the lake. That is an admirable goal and the city of Toledo under my watch will do everything in its power to cut total phosphorus loads.

An impairment designation is another step toward fixing our water supply. We will press for additional action.

"I traveled to Washington D.C. earlier this month as part of Great Lakes Day and to meet with our congressional leaders about Lake Erie. We need more restrictions on polluters who dump untreated animal waste into the lake. We need the state and federal governments to embrace this declaration and help create solutions for Lake Erie.”

ADDITIONAL FACTS:

  • At 1 p.m. today, the 2018 Integrated Water Quality Report was released by Ohio EPA. The last report was issued in 2016.
  • The 2018 report listed significant improvements around the state and some impairments and threats.
  • The open lake of the Western Lake Erie Basin will be listed as impaired.
  • Previously, OEPA did not have a scientific process to make a declaration. Ohio EPA has been working with US EPA, state (OSU-Stone Lab, University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University), and federal partners (NOAA and USGS).
  • The designation will not change health or consumption advisories. The fish consumption advisory will be released in April.
  • Immediate actions include the following: 
    • Request all major wastewater treatment plants around Ohio to limit phosphorous.
    • Modify the language to include fertilizer in the definition of pollutant. Manure is currently part of the definition. The state bill language should be release tomorrow after 10 a.m.