The Press Newspaper
Legislation proposed by State Sen. Randy Gardner will establish an office in the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to specifically coordinate efforts with local governments to address algae and related issues in Lake Erie.
Sen. Gardner said an Office of Harmful Algae Management and Response in the Ohio EPA would work with water treatment plants by monitoring intakes and conduct in-lake testing for toxic algae.
Senate Bill 1 was scheduled for two hearings last week and is co-sponsored by Sen. Bob Peterson (R – Sabina) and Sen. Cliff Hite (R – Findlay), who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee. The sponsors said last week they anticipate a vote in the senate this month.
Gardner said the bill requires the OEPA director to coordinate responsibilities with the natural resources, agriculture and health departments as well as consult with local governments and water treatment plant operators.
“No matter how much progress is made in reducing phosphorus levels in the lake, we know our water treatment plants need and deserve our best efforts to support their mission to keep our drinking water safe,” he said.
Officials from Northwood and the Northwest Water and Sewer District have compromised on the designs of an above ground 2 million gallon flow equalization basin or sanitary sewer overflow storage tank that would hold sewage and storm water during heavy rain events before it can be released and treated by Oregon’s sanitary sewer treatment plant.
The city has a contract with the district for water and sewer services from Toledo and Oregon.
Oregon has an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to make improvements to its system, which affects the district, Tom Stalter, manager of engineering of the district, said recently at a Northwood Plan Commission meeting. “We can now only allow 5 million gallons per day to run into Oregon. Under dry weather, this is fine. However, under wet weather and the conditions of the sewers, this causes a problem.”
The district reviewed the flow over 18 months and determined “we exceeded 5 million gallons a day 60 times,” he said.
The district’s contract with Oregon was renewed last April. It mandates the implementation of a new control structure for the flow, which travels down one main line into the city of Oregon before it is treated.
The 30 foot tall basin, which is scheduled to be completed by this October, will be located on a 2 acre parcel parcel between Curtice Road and Wise Street. It will be 1,350 feet east of the nearest house in the Greenway Estates subdivision. The tank will catch and hold the excess flow of sanitary sewage and storm water temporarily before it is released for treatment in Oregon.
State Rep. Michael Sheehy (D. Oregon) was recently given the “Legislator of the Year” award by the Ohio Farmer’s Union.
“Rep. Sheehy has worked closely with farmers in and around his district to better understand how fertilizers work on the land and what practices work best to keep nutrients in the soil and out of Lake Erie,” Ohio Farmers Union Spokesman Ron Sylvester told The Press last week. “His legislative agenda on the House Ag Committee has reflected a no-nonsense approach to agriculture and water quality.”
Sylvester in particular noted Sheehy’s legislative proposal last year to ban the spreading of livestock manure and chemical fertilizer on snow and frozen ground on farm fields in the Maumee River Watershed. Last year, it passed the House, but failed in the senate and expired on Dec. 31. It is expected to be reintroduced in the state legislature this year. Phosphorus, which fuels the algal blooms in Lake Erie, is in fertilizer and manure. When it is spread on snow and frozen ground, the phosphorus is at risk of running off of fields and into area watersheds during the spring thaw.
“During deliberations over H.B. 490 last year, Sheehy fought for an amendment to prohibit the spreading of manure on frozen or snow-covered ground in the Maumee River watershed. He also put forth amendments in committee that would have helped aggregate existing data on all farm fertilizers – including manure – from various state and local sources,” Sylvester said. “This data would not have individually identified farms or farmers, but would allow state officials to get a watershed view of potential nutrient run-off hotspots. While many House members talk about basing regulation on science, Rep. Sheehy was actually giving legislators a mechanism to collect the data they say that they want.”
Oregon is considering taking action against solicitors who are pressuring residents to drop their current electric or natural gas providers and sign up with them.
City Administrator Mike Beazley said the city has received several complaints from residents about sales representatives going door to door to find new customers. The solicitors are alleging their rates are lower than the one that was negotiated by the Northwest Ohio Aggregation Coalition, (NOAC), a coalition of local governments who bundle their utility customers into one buying group to negotiate the lowest electric and natural gas rates for their residents. Each governmental entity that is part of NOAC has its own representative on the NOAC board. Residents may opt-out of NOAC agreements and choose their own utility companies. If they decline to choose their own energy providers, residents, by default, are automatically signed up with the companies chosen by NOAC.
“We’re getting a lot of calls from some of our residents about the folks going door to door trying to sign up people for electricity and gas services,” said Beazley at Monday’s council meeting.
For first time in 40-plus years, Hetrick without animals
Wednesday night, Tiger Ridge Exotics founder Kenny Hetrick spent the night without an assortment of lions, tigers, and bears outside his home.
It was the first night in over 40 years that his exotic animals were gone from the Stony Ridge shelter.
Wednesday, Ohio Department of Agriculture officials removed six tigers, a lion, black leopard, liger, bobcat and Kodiak bear that Hetrick’s family said was in hibernation when the ODA officials arrived. A wolf hybrid was allowed to remain on the property because that species is not applicable to state law.
Wood County Sheriff Mark Washylyshyn said a search warrant and seizure warrant was executed earlier that morning giving the ODA access to the Tiger Ridge property. During the day, Hetrick watched on security cameras from inside his home and did not make an effort to intervene.
No results found.