H2Ohio water quality plan unveiled

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On November 14, 2019, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine unveiled his long-awaited H2Ohio Water Quality Plan, a program aimed at reducing phosphorus runoff and harmful algal blooms, improving water infrastructure (including tackling the problem of failing septic systems) and preventing lead contamination to water in Ohio. Citing a “moral obligation to preserve and protect our natural resources,” the governor’s office announced a partnership between the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA), Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Lake Erie Commission to address the water quality needs of the state. On phosphorus runoff reduction, the primary area of focus will be reducing runoff in the Maumee River Watershed and Lake Erie through a certification process that will provide farmers with economic incentives if they develop a certified nutrient management plan. But the goal is to expand the program into other parts of the state in the future. On water infrastructure, Ohio EPA will head up H2Ohio’s directive to fund infrastructure projects in disadvantaged communities to ensure access to safe drinking water and quality sewer infrastructure. As part of this effort, H2Ohio will fund the replacement of failing septic systems and lead pipes and fixtures in high-risk areas around Ohio. It is expected that Ohio EPA will announce more detail on these projects in the near future.

For reference, the H2Ohio website can be found here. The press release on the Water Quality Plan from Governor Mike DeWine’s office can be found here. Supporting statements from various stakeholders can be found here.

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