Ohio EPA to develop system to track, enforce Lake Erie pollution

Published: Feb. 18, 2020 at 12:19 PM EST
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Since the 1970's, the Ohio EPA has been testing the water resources in Ohio. Our drinking ban back in 2014, though, heightened our awareness of what kind of pollutants are actually going into the lake.

The 2020 Integrated Water Quality Report, recently published by the EPA, is calling for stricter regulations on those pollutants, and local leaders say they're on board.

"For the first time, they've said, 'Yes, we're going to create what are called TMDLs, measuring sticks for the Western Basin of Lake Erie,'" Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken said. "That's the first time they've even hinted that they would do something other than voluntary compliance. What they said in the report is that they are starting enforceable compliance."

The EPA defines TMDL as Total Maximum Daily Loads, a defining tool that allows experts to determine the limit of how much pollution a body of water can handle. To find out more about TMDLs, href="">click here


"Voluntary compliance has done nothing for us," Gerken said. "We've wasted four years on voluntary compliance. There's been a lot of education, and there are some great farmers willing to work with us, but ... you have to put some teeth into it."

In April 2019, Lucas County Commissioners filed a lawsuit against the EPA and demanded the agency submit a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) to the federal EPA. Commissioner Gerken says he’s pleased to see this change in the 2020 Integrated Water Quality Report.

For the full report,