Future looking grim for county’s coal-fired power plants Lady Hounds grab win number two, downing Augusta 51-35 Greyhounds down North Adams in SHAC action, 61-50 PHS inducts pair of girls’ squads into Athletic Hall of Fame Michael G Rogers Local business donates shotguns to WUPD Senior Profile: Shannon Runyan Reds employees recognize Dr. King’s ‘Spirit of Service’ Saving Adams County’s power plants North Adams High School announces annual Science Fair Winners Board of Developmentally Disabled holds Jan. 11 swearing-in ceremony Peebles Elementary honors December Students of the Month Adams County villages receive Bike Racks and Fix-it Stations College Credit Plus Program available to high school students Wenstrup selected as Chairman of Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health 2017 Manchester Homecoming is ‘Super’ Lions put damper on Manchester Homecoming West Union athletes honored by OSSCA Senior Profile: Story Kremin Bickett, Runyan lead Lady Dragons to victory in Manchester Indians improve to 8-3 with Saturday night rout of Portsmouth West Farm Bureau scholarships available to HS seniors Wilbur named to the Wilmington College Dean’s List Opal Van Hoose Ruby Yazell Chris Volk North Adams High School holds annual Homecoming ceremonies Six workers injured in power plant explosion Commissioners hold proclamation ceremony for 4-H Week Senior Profile: Shyanne Tucker Coach Young Classic is Saturday at NAHS Helen Kerr Anna L DeMint The garden that got us through the winter months Virginia L Fricker JV Devils top Northwest 51-34 Senior Profile: Caitlin Young North Adams moves to 7-5 with 16-point Homecoming win over Northwest Held to a higher standard Claudia J Purtee Shaylee E Prewitt Questions still linger in Stuart explosion Richard Holsinger J Ruth Madden Frank E Swayne Robert Bechdolt Sara D Hatfield Barbara Goodwin Jeffrey Frederick Grace E Myers Johnny A Sullender Sr. Senator Joe Uecker sworn-in for second term Wenstrup sworn in for third term in House Ronald L Chochard Patrick P Clift Samuel W Freeland Senior Profile: Casey Mullenix Lady Dragons win ugly, taking Classic consolation game over Manchester, 48-45 Greyhounds roll by West Union to take Classic consolation game, 82-58 History made as Ward takes oath of office Peter A Bennington Tangela R King McDonald’s Classic crowns 2016 champions MVP Arey leads Peebles to McDonald’s Classic title, Indians outlast North Adams 82-76 in double overtime thriller Lady Devils get Classic three-peat, make it 10 of 11, 14 titles for Coach Davis Senior Profile: Raegan Dick Teaching students the power of giving Kids at Children’s Home gifted with shopping spree Marion Liming Dorothy Huff John R Murphy Michael L McAninch Rita Rogers Edward L Combs Ronald W Staggs Mary H Grooms Gladys Wilson Donald Barnhill Monda Van Vorren Deborah Spires Senior Profile: Andre Wolke Indians pull away in second half, get past Manchester 71-58 in Classic semis On home floor, Lady Indians move to Classic title game North Adams handles West Union, Devils move to Classic finals with 68-53 victory Lady Devils roll into Classic championship Beth E Rowley Leatrice Lewis Senior Profile: Justin Aldridge Mary Helterbridle Wanda Huffman PES Performing Arts entertains at Hometown Christmas Adams County Manor sends holiday wishes Peebles Lions Club hosts Christmas breakfast Elusive Elf on a Shelf makes a return visit to PES Santas in blue spread Christmas cheer in a very special way Senior Profile: Aubrey McFarland WUHS holds Hall of Fame induction ceremonies WUHS Academic Team has undefeated season Serving those who served their country From Pearl Harbor to ‘America’s Got Talent’, 93-year-old WWII vet is still going strong

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