Commissioners to meet with DP&L officials New state graduation requirements called a ‘train wreck’ Catching up with Keller Senior Profile: Justin Knechtly Piketon size is too much for Lady Indians, Peebles falls in sectional finals Greyhounds grab Senior Night win Indians finish regular season riding six-game winning streak Harper, Hupp, Defense lead Lady Devils to fourth consecutive sectional championship West Union Elementary recognizes Students of the Month for January Second Healthy Hero awarded by Adams County Health and Wellness Coalition Coal company files to intervene in power plant closings Senior Profile: Jessica Sowards Senior Profile: Dennis Welch Dorothy E Walls Mabel Chamblin Michael R Jones Marie I Simmons Ray Johnson One thing to remember this President’s Day Adams County Deer Harvest down over 21% MLSD amends five-year budget, prepares for future with power plant closings Lady Dragons triumph in sectional opener Lady Hounds eighth graders capture SHAC Tournament title Gary L Fetters Sr Boys Sectional brackets released ‘We’re only as good as the way we treat others’ Another round of smiles Adams County Board of DD members recognized Terry L Unger 8th Grade Lady Devils ousted in tourney semis WU’s McCarty signs with Ohio Christian Joyce A Huddleson Carolyn Spires BREAKING NEWS: Peebles police search for man accused of selling marijuana-laced sweets Decision Time BBN Senior Profile: Summer Grundy Lady Devils fall to Southeastern, 56-48 Devils outlast Manchester 47-44 in double overtime Peebles holds second Hall of Fame Ceremony Senior Profile: Patrick England Sowards hits 1,000, ties PHS three-point mark County agencies prepare for sweeping budget cuts Manchester Council votes to cut police chief’s hours Wrestling debuts in Adams County Peebles Library hosts book signing As plants power down, community must step up Raymond P Dryden Alva Palmer Billie L Shoemaker Judith Long Brent A Arn Girls basketball sectional pairings announced WU’s Weeks will continue gridiron career at next level West Union JH Boys drop pair at Ripley Eighth Grade Lady Hounds roll into SHAC semi-finals Janet A Kennedy DP&L moving ahead with plans to close power plants Outreach Center in Peebles is a hub of giving River Sweep contest winners announced Gordley hits 1,000 mark, but Indians drop crucial SHAC contest to Lynchburg Manchester lifters compete at Piketon Senior Profile: Madelyn Sanders Charles L Hurd Randy Casto Bobby Strunk Dorothy J Scott Chester A Lanter Coach David Smalley picks up 500th career win at Rio Grande Dustin Holbrook Senior Profile: Camron Gordley As usual, optimism abounds on 2017 Reds Caravan Breeze, Beasley newest members of NAHS Athletic HOF Two humble men Adams County Manor Home Health Care makes road to recovery easier Don and Venita Bowles named as Outstanding Fair Supporters ‘Tip off For Tammy’ is a huge success, joint effort by two schools Husted campaign makes stop in Peebles Benefit held for double-lung transplant recipient I loved that muddy water, building in the creek Margaret E Broughton Larry A Hanson DP&L press release confirms closing of power plants Eighth grade girls showdown lives up to hype, North Adams wins in overtime, 45-43 Senior Profile: Raeanna Stamm North Adams Football sign-ups coming soon North Adams JV girls go 11-4 with win over Peebles Harper wins MaxPreps/JJHuddle Athlete of the Week West Union duo headed to the college gridiron Lady Devils make it 11 straight with win at Peebles Adams County residents attend Trump Inauguration A Look back at our Archives Peebles native comes home to film documentary Ohio Valley Wrestling Cub hosting home match on Jan. 31 Ruth A Branscome Velma Hughes Carol L Lewis Betty L Greiner Devils top New Boston 63-53 in finale of Coach Young Classic Lady Devils rout Eastern Pike in Young Classic Indians bounce back with 67-59 win over East

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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2016 People's Defender