Alice B Himes Claudia U Mitchell TRAFFIC ALERT: SR 41 restrictions set for Saturday Jewell Foster Senior Profile: Nicholas Fish SHAC Girls Preview set for Nov. 17 Senior Profile: Lakyn Hupp Again, Lady Devils ousted in district finals ‘Lighting the Serpent’ event is being discontinued Voters favor incumbents at the ballot Arts Council dedicates Buzzardroost Rock mural Heroes in disguise Fighting for future generations in OH2 A few puffs of smoke, and a happy ending Lois Wilson Helen M Hesler Jerry L Dickson Ohio’s Traditional Deer-Gun Hunting Season begins Nov. 27 WWII veteran honored in banner raising ceremony Veteran of three wars honored for volunteer work Charlotte Evans Jason A Barr Why we celebrate Manchester man killed in single-car accident Adams County Election Results – 2017 Hubert Knauff To keep or not to keep Time again for the changing of the seasons November proclaimed as Adoption Recognition and Recruitment Month Local business is seven decades old and counting Local student gets Nashville call Senior Profile: Gabe Grooms Lady Indians fall in districts Quest For The Cup complete for Dragons Meeting a true sports hero WU’s McCarty named District Player of the Year With regional run, Pennywitt completes memorable career West Union eighth grade volleyball finishes as SHAC runner-up Senior Profile: Tray Brand Greyhounds drop home finale, finish at 4-6 Lady Devils fall in district semis Devils go down in district finals Matt Seas headed back to State XC Meet Senior Profile: Charlee Louden Lady Indians ousted in sectional final Lady Devils down Minford 4-1 in district semis North Adams volleyball claims fourth consecutive sectional crown Senior Profile: Brooklyn Howlett Afterschool fun begins at NAES Wearing it pink in October Kenneth L Austin Jay E Minnich Reuben E Hershberger Bobby L Williams 18 years just isn’t long enough Emotional, historic, and victorious Taking action against addiction Utilities commission approves DP&L electric security plan What matters and what doesn’t Oh dear, is that a deer? Junior Gaffin Charlotte J Thatcher Matthew D Miller Megan R Phillips Ralph M Swearingen Linda C Ackley Robert Ralston Shelly Seaman Increased access to treatment, Improving economic opportunity keys to combating Ohio’s Opioid Crisis Seas siblings are again SHAC Cross-Country Champions Lady Hounds cruise to sectional victory Senior Profile: Alyssa Hoskins 101 and another sectional championship Lady Indians claim sectional title North Adams tops Peebles for sectional soccer crown Senior Profile: Shay Boldman 13.5 seconds, heartbreak for West Union PHS JV Volleyball completes unbeaten season On the course that Nicklaus helped design On the ballot: Meigs Township Trustees West Union Christian Church will again be collection center for Operation Christmas Child Peebles voters will choose council members in upcoming election Seven candidates seek seats on ACOVSD school board A time for transformation What will future generations say? Finding all those treasures Janet K Campbell Robert D Hill Lady Devils blank West Union 7-0 in SHAC soccer finale Vikings invade and conquer the Greyhounds Outpouring of community support for local business woman with cancer Manchester mourns teen killed in single-car crash Kylie S Lucas Sharon R Grooms Steven L Wootten Forest J McDaniel Ralph O Grooms Adams County teenager dies in auto accident Charles N Vance Wesley M Baldwin

Ohio’s water quality crisis

Ohio is facing an unprecedented water quality crisis. In 2014 a toxic blue green algae bloom on Lake Erie shut down the drinking water supply to more than 400,000 people in the Toledo-area. The 2015 bloom was even larger covering more than 300 square miles that stretched from Toledo to Cleveland. Another bloom, spanning 600 miles, formed on the Ohio River, which flows 1,000 miles across six states, was ranked the most polluted river in the U.S. for the seventh consecutive year. Additionally, seven lakes, reservoirs and rivers in central Ohio that supply drinking water to approximately 1 million people have repeatedly exceeded safe levels of microcystin, the toxin produced by blue green algal blooms. The state is working to tighten regulations on how public water systems test for, treat and report this toxic algae.

According to Bill Wickerham, Director of the Adams County Soil and Water Conservation District, “We’ve got polluted water, and we’re trying to determine why.”

The Ohio Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) reported that the Ohio River has 23 million pounds of toxic discharge. Nitrates make up 92 percent of the toxins, in addition there are 380 pounds of mercury. The majority of the pollution and this past summer’s algae bloom are both a result of pollution from power plants along the river. The algae blooms feed off the nitrates and phosphates some of the plants use in their daily operations.

“If anyone wants to make the river a viable resource, the mercury levels need to go down – you can’t really eat the fish if you catch them, and if you do, you can only eat a certain amount,” said Madeline Fleisher, staff attorney at the Ohio Office Law and Policy Center said, “This is especially important for young children who are still developing and women who are pregnant.”

The state wants to tighten regulations on how public water systems test for, treat and report toxic algae from Lake Erie to the Ohio River and all the sites in between.

Power plants are not the only culprit. Agriculture, sewage treatment plants, and commercial detergents are also factors.

“Agriculture does play a part, but it isn’t the only contributing factor,” Wickerham explained, “There’s also faulty septic systems and municipal waste treatment plants, as well a toxic material people use on their lawns.”

U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Oh) and Rob Portman (R-Oh) have introduced a bill that would establish a national pilot program to ensure that the most innovative and affordable solutions are made available to local communities when updating their wastewater systems.

“Many Ohio communities need to invest in their wastewater systems, but don’t know how they’ll afford upgrades,” said Brown. “This bill would help communities ensure that our rivers and streams are clean and that Ohioans have access to safe, reliable drinking water.”

“Local communities often struggle with the costs of inflexible government mandates and our legislation seeks to fix this,” Portman stated, “Our bill will encourage the EPA to work with interested communities in developing innovative and cost-effective solutions to comply with the Clean Water Act – solutions that can be used by other communities to provide affordable clean water to their citizens.”

Under provisions of the Clean Water Act, local communities must make upgrades to waste and storm water systems to ensure raw sewage and pollutants do not enter waterways. The ability of local and state governments to finance these projects has been strained during the ongoing economic recovery. By establishing pilot programs, 15 communities will work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to craft flexible compliance guidelines and find long-term methods for funding projects.

Agriculture producers are also attempting to deal with the problem. According to Wickerham, “From a farmer’s perspective, using good conservation practices on farms is imperative. Conservation isn’t a luxury, we can’t afford not to do it.”

Conservation involves the responsible use of our resources. Farmers can lower the amount of fertilizer they use by planting cover crops such as wheat, rye, radishes, turnips, oats, buckwheat or any of the other several hundred types that are available.

“We need to keep something living in the soil,” Wickerham explained, “ Cover crops bridge the gap between cash crops. These plants are living in the soil, they’re covering the soil which prevents erosion, and they’re retaining the nutrients in the soil so the farmer will need less fertilizer when planting the next crop.”

The Adams Soil and Water Conservation District has received an $800,000 grant from the Mississippi River Basin Initiative to fund Adams County producers conservation efforts. “The nutrients in our waterways are what’s causing the harmful algal blooms,” Wickerham acknowledged, “We have to look at our practices, and by and large, producers want to do what’s right and cost effective to stop the leaching of fertilizers into our waterways.”

Improving water quality is the responsibility of every Ohioan. Larry Fletcher of the Lake Erie Shores and Islands explains, “Clean abundant water is critical to the well-being of Ohio’s residents and also to the nearly 200 million visitors the state welcomes each year. These visitors generate annual spending of $31 billion and $5.8 billion in taxes, and the businesses they support employ more than 400,000 Ohioans.”

http://www.peoplesdefender.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_algae1.jpgCourtesy photo
Brown/Portman working to assist local communities

By Patricia Beech

pbeech@civitasmedia.com

Reach Patricia Beech at 937-544-2391 or at pbeech@civitasmedia.com

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