11/20/17
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Dina Pierce
CITIZEN CONTACT: Heather Lauer

Ohio EPA Accepting Public Comments on Proposal to Remove Beneficial Use Impairment from Ashtabula River Area of Concern

Public meeting set for Dec. 4 in Ashtabula

Ohio EPA will hold a public meeting on a proposal to remove a Beneficial Use Impairment from the federally designated Ashtabula River Area of Concern (AOC). The meeting will be held Dec. 4, 2017, at 6 p.m. in Meeting Room A at the Harbor-Topky Memorial Library, 1633 Walnut Blvd., Ashtabula.

Ohio EPA believes the “degradation of benthos” beneficial use impairment can be removed because the causes of the impairment have been remediated. “Benthos” is a term for aquatic organisms that live all or part of their life cycles in the bottom sediments of a stream.

Approximately 500,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediments were dredged from the lower 2.5 miles of the river from 2005-2007. In 2010 and 2012, more than 3,800 feet of in-stream habitat was restored. However, most of the stream banks in this area remain hardened with wood and steel sheet piling to prevent erosion and provide ship docking.

While these structures impact aquatic life, they are used for boat docking at local marinas and cannot be removed. Additionally, the lower reach of the river is influenced by natural low flows and Lake Erie levels, both of which cause excessive sedimentation that affect benthic communities. 

The benthic organisms should continue to recover over time. The extended time necessary for additional recovery should not prevent this beneficial use impairment from being removed from the AOC. Ohio EPA and the Ashtabula AOC Advisory Council are requesting public input on the recommendation.

For additional information or to submit comments, contact Ted Conlin at Ohio EPA Northeast District Office, 2110 E. Aurora Road, Twinsburg, OH 44087, or Ted.Conlin@epa.ohio.gov. Comments can be presented at the public meeting or submitted in writing by Dec. 18, 2017.

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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.


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