Building upon historic changes undertaken earlier this year to improve Lake Erie water quality, Ohio has reached an agreement with Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario to achieve a 40 percent reduction in the amount of phosphorus entering Lake Erie’s western basin by 2025.
“Lake Erie is one of our state’s crown jewels for its recreation, wildlife and economic benefits and as a key source of water for millions of Ohioans,” Lt. Governor Mary Taylor said.
“While we have made tremendous progress in protecting Lake Erie over the past four years, there is more work to do and by working in unison with our Great Lakes neighbors we can make even more progress to improve the water quality in our Great Lakes.”
Earlier this spring, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed legislation to aggressively tackle water quality issues to protect the Lake Erie watershed, by:
– Eliminating Open Lake Disposal of Dredge Materials by 2020:
Reducing the sediment dumped in Lake Erie will help reduce chemical and nutrient loading, which likely contributes to harmful algal blooms and will improve water quality and protect fish and wildlife habitats. Ohio will require that all dredge material be diverted from open-lake disposal by 2020, unless it’s for a beneficial use such as beach nourishment;
– Limiting Phosphorus Discharges:
Ohio EPA will evaluate and modify new and existing wastewater discharge permits for major public wastewater treatment plants to expand monitoring and continue to limit phosphorus discharges in state waters.
These reforms build upon significant progress made over the past four years in protecting the lake, including:
- Ohio has invested more than $1 billion since July 2011 in the Lake Erie watershed to improve drinking water and wastewater facilities, monitor water quality, plant cover crops, recycle dredge material, install controlled drainage systems on fields and fix faulty septic systems;
- Restricting water amounts that can be diverted out of the Lake Erie watershed;
- Beginning to phase out open-lake dumping of Maumee River dredge material and continuing to prohibit open-lake dumping of Cuyahoga River dredge material;
- Banning oil and gas exploration in Lake Erie;
- Helping combat invasive species via mutual aid agreements with nine other Great Lakes states and Canadian provinces.