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Comments sought until Nov. 17 on White Oak water quality study

According to a newly released Ohio EPA study of water quality in White Oak Creek and the streams that feed it, approximately 59 percent of the sampling sites fully meet the goals for warm water habitat streams; 18 percent of sites partially meet the goals; and 23 percent of sites do not meet the goals.
    Oho EPA is seeking public comments on the report until November 17.
    The White Oak watershed is located in Southwest Ohio in Brown and Highland counties.  It is a direct tributary of the Ohio River, flowing south to join with the Ohio River near Higginsport.  The watershed drains 234 square miles.
    Most sites on the White Oak Creek and its tributaries that did not meet or partially met water quality goals were impaired because of physical changes to the land and nutrient additions. The complete White Oak Creek report, associated study material and fact sheet are available on the Web.
    Ohio is required by the federal Clean Water Act to identify waters that do not meet water quality standards and develop plans to bring the affected waters into compliance. Much of this is done through the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program, which determines the maximum amount of pollutants a water body can receive on a daily basis without violating water quality standards.
    The TMDL process can lead to water quality improvement through evaluating pollution sources and developing a strategy to address them. The TMDL program is community based, with residents, watershed groups and local governments determining what solutions will work best locally to achieve improvements.
    Ohio EPA is committed to working with communities to identify areas of water quality improvement and help local residents secure funding to complete water quality improvement projects. Potential local actions not regulated by Ohio EPA that will improve water quality could include: creating stream-side buffers between farm fields and streams; using alternatives to traditional drainage maintenance; fencing livestock off from streams and improving manure management; using good nutrient management when applying fertilizer and pesticides on lawns and agriculture fields; replacing or repairing failed septic systems; removing lowhead dams; and using alternative storm water management such as rain barrels and rain gardens.
    To obtain a printed copy of the report and other information, inspect Agency files or records pertaining to the report or request notice of when Ohio EPA submits the report to U.S. EPA, please contact Beth Risley at the address below or by calling (614) 644-2001.
    Comments about the report may be submitted in writing to Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water., P.O. box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049. Attn: Beth Risley, or by e-mail to: by the close of business, Nov. 17. Comments received after this date may be considered as time and circumstances permit. After consideration of comments, Ohio EPA will submit the report to U.S. EPA for approval.[[In-content Ad]]

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