Toledo, OH – Today at 1:00 PM, Toledo City Council’s Committee of the Whole is holding a meeting regarding the designation of the Western Lake Erie Basin as impaired. Presenting at the meeting will be Adam Rissien, Director of Agricultural & Water Policy with the Ohio Environmental Council, and Carl Gebhardt, Deputy Director of Water Resources at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. In light of today’s meeting, the Board of Lucas County Commissioners offers the following statement:
“The Board of Lucas County Commissioners strongly supports an impaired designation of the Western Lake Erie Basin.”
“In addition to an impaired designation and in response to the resignation of the Regional EPA Administrator in Flint, Michigan, we strongly urge US EPA Region 5 to appoint an interim Administrator who would support this designation.”
The Lucas County Commissioners have taken an aggressive approach on water quality issues in Lake Erie to protect the drinking water supply and restore its integrity. Projects the Commissioners are working on include a Western Lake Erie Sources and Amounts Assessment, which will specifically identify the sources of the nutrient runoff causing the harmful algal blooms and the amount coming from each source. The Commissioners have also been advocating for policy solutions outlined in the “Moving Forward: Legal Solutions to Lake Erie’s Harmful Algal Blooms” report released by the Lucas County Commissioners in 2015. This report includes the use of Section 319 of the Clean Water Act as a viable solution and recommends a basin wide impaired designation.
An impaired designation of Western Lake Erie would require the EPA to develop a management plan to address the nonpoint source pollution that is significantly polluting Lake Erie. States with USEPA- approved reports and management plans receive federal funding to implement solutions.