Latest Local News
The Kasich administration — after years of resistance on behalf of agriculture — announced Thursday it has reversed itself on northwest Ohio’s arguably most contentious water-policy issue and will declare the open waters of western Lake Erie as impaired.
Although details of the impairment designation are still to be worked out, it will invariably mean tighter rules for agriculture and others that release nutrients into western Lake Erie tributaries.
Ohio has been the last holdout on the issue, which gained a lot of traction after the 2014 Toledo water crisis. During that crisis, western Lake Erie’s most notorious algal toxin, microcystin, became so strong in August that it overwhelmed the city’s Collins Park Water Treatment Plant and poisoned tap water being distributed to the metro area’s 500,000 homes and businesses. The water was never actually shut off, but the Ohio National Guard and others converged on the area to provide clean water for nearly three days while health officials declared the city’s tap water unsafe for people to drink or make body contact with.
The administration for years steadfastly refused to budge from its position until 1 p.m. Thursday, when it announced its change of heart. It had said all along it wanted to stick to voluntary incentives for cooperation from the agricultural industry on reducing farm fertilizers and other nutrients that foul waterways and help algae grow....
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reversed itself on the western Lake Erie impairment issue, admitting it was wrong to approve a Kasich administration plan that relied on voluntary action to reduce algae-inducing runoff.
The federal agency said in a Jan. 12 letter to Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler it has reevaluated Ohio’s Oct. 20, 2016, submission, which did not recommend an impairment designation for Lake Erie’s open waters.
While stopping short of agreeing it should immediately designate the lake’s open water as impaired, the letter states officials determined the submission was “incomplete and thus not fully consistent with the requirements” of the Clean Water Act and EPA regulations....
Listed below are documents outlining US EPA decision that the data submitted by State of Ohio authorities to support state's decision to support voluntary measures to reduce the pollution that is feeding toxic algae blooms on the lake.was “incomplete and thus not fully consistent with the requirements of Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act and EPA’s regulations.”
1/16/2018 Letter from attorney for Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) to Carl B. Strokes, U.S. Court House U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Ohio requesting resolution of their Motion for Summary Judgment along with an Order by the Court providing a fully sufficient remedy for U.S. EPA’s admitted legal violation (at link)
Competing in a bass fishing tournament two years ago, Todd Steele cast his rod from his 21-foot motorboat—unaware that he was being poisoned. A thick, green scum coated western Lake Erie. And Steele, a semipro angler, was sickened by it.
Driving home to Port Huron, Michigan, he felt lightheaded, nauseous. By the next morning he was too dizzy to stand, his overheated body covered with painful hives. Hospital tests blamed toxic algae, a rising threat to U.S. waters.
"It attacked my immune system and shut down my body's ability to sweat," Steele said. "If I wasn't a healthy 51-year-old and had some type of medical condition, it could have killed me."
He recovered, but Lake Erie hasn't. Nor have other waterways choked with algae that's sickening people, killing animals and hammering the economy. The scourge is escalating from occasional nuisance to severe, widespread hazard, overwhelming government efforts to curb a leading cause: fertilizer runoff from farms....
Hartland manure application, northeast corner of Beecher and Hughes, stopped application as heavy rain showers came through. Sometimes it takes several days for a complete application of manure to a field and the lingering, putrid smell is made worse by warm temperatures, rains that fall almost daily, and bottom-of-the-pit cesspit contents.
Oct. 31, 2017
Terrehaven manure application from stockpile, e. side of Pentecost/Wolf Creek. Heavy showers came through between the time poop pile appeared and it was spread and incorporated.
Nov. 15, 2017
Stinky, stinky, stinky today in the Clayton, Michigan, area. Stench blanket far and wide, including a mile northeast at the North Dover Cemetery, where a ceremony was taking place.
Yet another Bakerlads slurry and liquid application, south side of Beecher Rd., just east of Morey Hwy, just north of Bakerlads CAFO. Liquid manure ponding along edge of field, predicted rain came about an hour after this picture was taken. This is the third application on this same field that we have known about since spring.
OREGON, OH (WTOL) -
Oregon City Council is drawing a line in the sand.
They unanimously approved a resolution Monday, demanding more oversight of the manure runoff that's impacting our water.
Sandy Bihn said the clock has run out on improving the condition of Lake Erie.
“We can't expect the lake to get bluer, not greener every year," said Bihn.
Bihn is on Oregon City Council, and Executive Director of Lake Erie Waterkeeper. She said the data shows the lake isn't getting better, it's getting worse. And her fellow council members agree.
They passed a resolution asking the state of Ohio to do 3 things:
- Provide an annual report on the dollars spent, and pounds of phosphorous reduced going into the lake.
- Require all new and expanding mid-sized to large livestock operations to match the lower levels of soil test requirements as commercial fertilizers.
- Promote private and public investment in technology to eliminate phosphorous runoff from manure.
That phosphorous is a major culprit in the toxic green algae that can harm our water source.
NOAA Lake Erie Bulletin: 2017 Bloom Analysis[caption id="attachment_2416" align="aligncenter" width="791"] Experimental Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom Bulletin
7 November 2017, Bulletin 35, Seasonal Assessment[/caption]
The toxic algae that spread across Lake Erie this summer roughly matched its third-most severe bloom in 15 years, government researchers said Tuesday, November 7, 2017. The Microcystis cyanobacteria bloom in 2017 had a severity index (SI) of 8,which is a severe bloom ....
Stench Alert – October 22, 2017
Toledo City Council Tuesday approved a resolution urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to designate the western basin of Lake Erie impaired — a move already made by other officials including the Lucas County Commissioners and Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson.
Council voted 11-1 in favor of the resolution.
Councilman Peter Ujvagi, who sponsored the council resolution, said it is critical that government addresses the excessive algae problem in the lake.
The condition of the lake has a "critical impact on our future," he said.
An “impaired” designation would give the EPA the power to identify nonpoint sources of pollution in all the watersheds that drain into the lake.
Lake Erie algae toxins caused the 2014 Toledo water crisis that affected about 500,000 residents. The toxins also prompted Michigan in November, 2016, to declare portions of Lake Erie's waters impaired.
Lucas County commissioners and Oregon City Council approved resolution seeking the impairment destination in 2016....