Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
- Funding water infrastructure projects in disadvantaged communities to provide safe drinking water and sewer services;
- Fixing or replacing hundreds of failing home sewage treatment systems in low-income areas;
- Replacing lead pipes and fixtures at high-risk daycares and schools;
- Increasing water quality monitoring across the state.
Funding Water Infrastructure Projects
Ohio EPA will fund infrastructure projects in small, disadvantaged communities to increase access to safe drinking water and sewer services. An initial $3.5 million in H2Ohio funding will be disbursed to “shovel ready” projects. The Agency has identified small community projects in Northeast and Southeast Ohio, with more projects to come.
Addressing Failing Home Sewage Treatment Systems
Ohio EPA will use $2.5 million from H2Ohio to fund replacement of 250-300 failing home sewage treatment systems for low-income households. Since 2016, Ohio EPA has paid nearly $30 million and replaced more than 2,000 failing home sewage treatment systems.
Ohio EPA has a statutory obligation (6111.03) that requires the Agency to conduct a study of nutrient mass balance for both point and nonpoint sources every two years. To begin fulfilling this requirement the agency published the Nutrient Mass Balance Study for Ohio’s Major Rivers report in 2016 and 2018. The combined areas of the watersheds included in the 2018 report were nearly 23,000 square miles or 66% of Ohio’s watersheds.
H2Ohio will expand nutrient monitoring of three additional watersheds: the Little Miami, the East Fork Little Miami, and Hocking rivers. Streamflow has been measured at these pour points for watersheds for several decades, so H2Ohio dollars will provide USGS $186,000 to purchase and install new nutrient monitoring equipment and $297,000 for monitoring and maintenance through the current state budget.
With the addition of these watersheds, nearly 3,000 square miles will be added to the nutrient mass balance covered area. This will increase the coverage of the mass balance study to greater than 72.59% of Ohio’s watersheds.
H2Ohio Technology Assessment Program
In support of efforts to address Harmful Algal Blooms, State agencies are often presented with emerging technologies for reducing nutrient loading and reducing HABs. Since these technologies are typically innovative, proprietary, and span multiple scientific disciplines, state agencies alone are not best positioned to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of these technologies.
To help the State evaluate these technology proposals, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency developed the H2Ohio Technology Assessment Program (H2Ohio TAP). The goal of this new program is to identify promising new technologies, validate those technologies, and facilitate demonstration projects to determine their effectiveness at scale. To assist with this effort, the Ohio Lake Erie Commission established a public advisory group called the H2Ohio TAP Team to help solicit and narrow down technologies for further assessment. Ohio EPA selected Tetra Tech as a third-party vendor, who will perform an in depth assessment of the 10 most promising technology proposals, as determined by the H2Ohio TAP Team.
H2Ohio TAP is specifically interested in technologies that:
- reduce nutrient loading to rivers, streams, and lakes;
- remove nutrients from rivers, streams, and lakes;
- reduce the intensity or toxicity of algal blooms;
- recover nutrients from manure; and
- improve nutrient removal in wastewater treatment plants.
H2Ohio TAP issued a request for technology proposals on November 16, 2020. The deadline for submittal will be in January 15, 2021. The H2Ohio TAP Team will evaluate all of the proposals received, and select the top 10 technologies, which will then be thoroughly evaluated by Tetra Tech. After the detailed evaluations are completed, the H2Ohio TAP will pursue demonstration projects with the most promising technologies, subject to available funding.