The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Storm water runoff from agricultural fields, failing residential septic systems, and discharges from municipal and industrial sources continue to contribute to water quality problems in the Portage River watershed, according to a study by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Only about half of the watershed is meeting all of the standards of the Clean Water Act, the study says, raising concerns a proposal to remove trees, brush, and other debris along 46 miles  of the east and south branches of the river may result in more runoff of sediment into tributary streams.

Instead, the study recommends meetings with area counties and agricultural organizations to determine if alternatives to traditional stream cleaning could be effective.

The Portage River extends approximately 60 miles from headwater streams near the city of Findlay in Hancock County to its mouth in Lake Erie in Ottawa County near Port Clinton. The four major tributaries include the North Branch, Middle Branch, South Branch, and East Branch; smaller tributaries are Bull, Rocky Ford, Needles, Rader, Sugar and Wolf creeks, and Little Portage River.

Between 2006 and 2008, EPA staffers examined 30 streams in the watershed and found only 54 percent of the streams met aquatic life standards in the Portage watershed.

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In an effort to cut costs, Walbridge is offering non-residents the use of its pool this summer at a discounted fee to help cover costs to operate the pool.

Walbridge Mayor Dan Wilczynski wrote letters to the mayors of Northwood, Millbury, Rossford, and the president of the board of trustees in Lake Township to inform them that he would open up the membership and daily admission to the village pool to neighboring towns.

“If we can double our membership and daily admission fees, we can operate at a net zero cost,” he said in the letter.

“In rethinking how we all operate and in hopes of moving other items of each of our operations to a more regional approach, we would like to offer several options to you and your councils for your collective support,” he continued. “With your support, we will make this offer available to your residents in the same manner that we do with the Walbridge residents.”

Wilczynski offers two options: Residents from neighboring communities would only have to pay $125 for the season or $2 per day if their local government contributes $2,000 to the pool’s operating budget; residents from neighboring communities would pay $175 per season or $3 per day admission without their government’s $2,000 contribution. The village usually charges non-residents $250 per season or $5 per day to use the pool, which is located near Meadow Lane.

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It is not every day that a groundbreaking for a new commercial building in Pemberville occurs.

Wednesday morning at 8 a.m., village representatives and business owners celebrated the groundbreaking of the Baker Building being constructed just inside the village limit at 531 East Front Street.

Attending the groundbreaking were Mayor James Opelt, Council President Gordon Bowman, the buildings’ owners, Lance and Darla Baker, and project foreman Mark Cairl from Midwest Construction Inc.

“Because of these bad economic times, we’re very happy that this is happening,” Mayor Opelt said.

The 2,250 square feet Baker Building, located just east of the railroads tracks off State Route 105 just before one leaves Pemberville heading towards Woodville, will house up to four businesses.

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The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will delay construction of the Wales Road overpass for one year so that BP Refinery can build an electric substation that would replace overhead wires near the site.

The $14 million project, which was going to be bid this December, with construction slated next year, will now have to wait until 2012, Northwood Administrator Pat Bacon told city council at a meeting April 1.

Bacon said she was contacted by Mike Ligibel, ODOT’s district two administrator, last month to inform her of the problem.

“Mike said, `Pat, we have a problem.’ When ODOT says we have a problem, it’s usually pretty major,” said Bacon.

FirstEnergy has major lines at Wales Road that feed electricity to the BP refinery, said Bacon. To relocate these lines would require a shutdown of the plant, which would cost ODOT $1.5 million.

“And that’s a really big deal,” said Bacon. “ODOT would be responsible to pay the $1.5 million because the problem is being created by the project, so therefore that would add to the cost of the project. It would come from taxpayers’ money.”

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FirstEnergy’s Bayshore power plant will be required to install technology to reduce fish kills at the plant’s intake system.

“Ohio EPA has decided, for the first time, FirstEnergy will be required to install technology that is designed to minimize fish mortality,” said Dina Pierce, Ohio EPA’s northwest district coordinator.

The plant will install devices called “reverse louvers,” she said.

“Once those are in place, FirstEnergy will be required to study the effectiveness of the devices,” said Pierce. “If the study proves the technology effective, then the company will have to permanently install the devices. If the study shows the technology is not effective, then Ohio EPA will require the company to pursue another solution to the fish impingement and entrainment problem.”

The fish impingement and entrainment issue is particularly important at this location near where the Maumee River drains into the Maumee Bay because it is a very productive fish spawning area, according to Pierce.

FirstEnergy conducted detailed studies on I&E and on the thermal plume created by heated water discharged into the Maumee Bay from the plant’s cooling system. Ohio EPA asked an independent environmental engineering firm, Tetra Tech, to examine FirstEnergy’s studies and the technologies available to reduce the Bayshore intake system’s impact on fish and determine which ones would work best at the plant. Ohio EPA also held a public information meeting in Oregon in March, 2009 to review the studies and get feedback from the public.

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Poll module

Christmas spending

Are spending more, less or the same amount this year for Christmas?
619593049 [{"id":"27","title":"More","votes":"0","pct":0,"type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"28","title":"Less","votes":"1","pct":50,"type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]},{"id":"29","title":"The same","votes":"1","pct":50,"type":"x","order":"3","resources":[]}] ["#194e84","#3b6b9c","#1f242a","#37414a","#60bb22","#f2babb"] sbar 160 160 /component/communitypolls/vote/12-christmas-spending No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...