The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Saving Lake Erie

Ag department has violated CAFO permit law, suit says

Some farm math: Researchers at The Ohio State University calculate a 1,400 pound dairy cow “produces” about 25 tons of manure annually.126WatershedFactsKG

Multiply that by, say, 1,000 or more cattle housed in a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) facility, and you have a lot of manure. And the phosphorus in the manure leaching from farm fields to tributaries of Lake Erie was one of the major concerns expressed by the public to the International Joint Commission as it prepared the Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority report released in 2014.

But it’s not just the volume of manure at CAFOs that worries Larry and Vickie Askins of Bloom Township in Wood County.

A lawsuit they filed in U.S. District Court in Toledo contends the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Ohio’s EPA and Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) have violated federal law covering permits for the facilities in the state. They also contend the run-off situation in Ohio has deteriorated since the ODA has assumed authority over CAFO permits.

Toledo to start $8 million construction to remove toxins

Last August, Toledo made national news when microcystin, a toxin created by invasive algae in Lake Erie, poisoned the city’s drinking water.

The algae can be difficult to control naturally and the toxin it produces can cause liver damage if ingested. As a result of high levels of microcystin, the city issued a three-day drinking water ban covering the Toledo service area, which includes 108,501 service taps and about 500,000 residents.

Steps have already been taken to ensure it does not happen again.

Construction is set to begin at the Collins Park Water Treatment plant in February on an $8.3 million temporary fix to reduce the possibility microcystin will foul Toledo’s water again this summer.

“What we’re talking about is an added barrier for the toxin,” Andrew McClure, plant administrator, said. “It would be a temporary kind of stop that would be incorporated into the future.”

Oregon, which was unaffected by the three day tap water ban in Toledo last August, is nonetheless upgrading its water treatment plant to improve water quality.

The water source for Toledo’s and Oregon’s water treatment plants is Lake Erie’s Western Basin, which has been plagued by large blue green algal blooms for years. The raw water intake for each community is about a mile apart. The city wants to stay ahead of the curve and not be put in the position Toledo found itself in last August.

Last September, city council approved a $295,000 contract with ARCADIS, US Inc., for additional design engineering services for raw water treatment improvements for the water treatment plant.

Water treatment plants typically use activated carbon to treat algae. Oregon plans a $13 million upgrade that will add the use of ozone in the pretreatment process that is very effective in treating microcystin, the toxic algae that caused the water crisis in Toledo.

“It would be the most cost-effective in combination with active carbon to keep us in a situation where we could control the destiny of whatever is in the lake,” said Mayor Mike Seferian.

“Ozone is more efficient,” said Public Service Director Paul Roman. “It definitely kills algae.”

 

 

roseanne

Will you watch the "Roseanne" spinoff "The Conners"?
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