PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Anthony Chenault
CITIZEN CONTACT: Mary McCarron
Ohio EPA Meeting Set to Discuss Water Quality Certification for Nationwide Permits
Hearing Scheduled Oct. 6
Ohio EPA will hold a public meeting with in-person and virtual options on Oct. 6, 2021, at 2:30 p.m. to discuss the proposed re-issuance of 41 nationwide permits and the state’s certification of those activities.
The in-person meeting will take place at Ohio EPA, Conference Room A (Autumn), 50 West Town Street, Suite 700, Columbus. Interested persons may attend the meeting in-person (or virtually) to be represented and give written or verbal comments on the proposed project. If planning on attending in-person, please pre-register by emailing email@example.com. Visitors in the building must present a photo I.D. and are expected to follow the rules of the building, which has mask and social distancing requirements. Due to meeting room capacity, participants are encouraged participate virtually. Those who wish to attend virtually should register at least 15 minutes in advance to ensure connectivity.
Nationwide permits are federal actions designed to reduce the regulatory and administrative burdens for projects that will result in minimal water quality impacts. Each state must certify each nationwide permit and may include terms specific to the needs of the state. Examples of these permits that Ohio certifies include temporary construction, access and dewatering, utility line activities, maintenance activities, bank stabilization, linear transportation projects, and aquatic habitat restoration. Ohio EPA water quality certifications typically remain in place for five years.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers originally proposed 59 nationwide permits, published in September 2020, but ultimately only issued 16 activity-based permits. On June 11, 2021, the Army Corps of Engineers submitted a draft final rule for 41 remaining activities and has requested the state certify those nationwide permits.
Nationwide permits included are:
- aids to navigation;
- structures in artificial canals;
- fish and wildlife harvesting, enhancement, and attraction devices and activities;
- scientific measurement devices;
- survey activities;
- outfall structures and associated intake structures;
- oil and gas structures on the outer continental shelf;
- structures in fleeting and anchorage areas;
- mooring buoys;
- temporary recreation structures;
- bank stabilization;
- linear transportation projects;
- U.S. Coast Guard approved bridges;
- return water from upland contained disposal areas;
- hydropower projects;
- minor discharges;
- minor dredging;
- response operations for oil or hazardous substances;
- removal of vessels;
- approved categorical exclusions;
- Indian tribe or state administered section 404 programs;
- structural discharges;
- aquatic habitat restoration, establishment, and enhancement activities;
- modifications of existing marinas;
- moist soil management for wildlife;
- maintenance of existing flood control facilities;
- completed enforcement actions;
- temporary construction, access, and dewatering;
- cranberry production activities;
- maintenance dredging of existing basins;
- boat ramps;
- emergency watershed protection and rehabilitation;
- cleanup of hazardous and toxic waste;
- reshaping existing drainage or irrigation ditches;
- repair of uplands damaged by discrete events;
- discharges in ditches;
- coal remining activities;
- removal of low-head dams;
- living shorelines; and
- water reclamation and reuse facilities.
Discharges from the activity, if approved, would result in degradation to, or lowering of the water quality of surface waters of the state, including lakes, wetlands, and streams. In order to receive a nationwide permit, the applicant must demonstrate activities will not violate Ohio’s water quality standards or create adverse impacts to water quality as required in the federal Clean Water Act. Anyone who discharges dredged or fill material into Ohio waters is required to obtain a water quality certification from Ohio EPA and then a water quality permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Participants who want handouts for the meeting should email Paula.Payne@epa.ohio.gov so electronic copies may be emailed on the day of the public meeting.
Ohio EPA will accept written comments on the application and draft water quality certifications through 5 p.m. on Oct. 13. Comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Copies of Ohio EPA’s draft certification and technical support information may be inspected on Ohio EPA-DSW website: http://www.epa.ohio.gov/dsw/401/permitting.aspx.
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.