This week, Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson outlined the progress the Agency has made in the first year of Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative, which has a goal to provide safe and clean water for Ohioans while ensuring the long-term health of our lakes and waterways.
Ohio EPA’s H2Ohio approach has been to concentrate on five focus areas which will improve water quality, protect public health, and provide positive change to the lives of Ohioans. These five focus areas are: improving Ohio’s water and wastewater infrastructure, replacing failed home sewage treatment systems, reducing lead exposure in daycare centers, building a stronger stream monitoring network, and researching promising technologies for water quality improvements.
“Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio plan enabled Ohio EPA to extend available funding to help communities across the state address their water and wastewater needs, home sewage treatment systems, and lead service lines,” said Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson. “We have used H2Ohio funding to make a difference in the lives of Ohioans.”
To help with infrastructure, Ohio EPA awarded a total of $2 million in funding for drinking water infrastructure projects in Pike County, Coshocton, and New Waterford. An additional $1.5 million in H2Ohio funding was awarded for wastewater projects in Pomeroy, West Milton, and Williams County. More than $1.7 million was awarded to health departments in seven Northwest Ohio counties to address failing household sewage systems.
A total of $1.225 million in H2Ohio funds are addressing removing and replacing lead service lines and lead-containing fixtures at childcare facilities in Cincinnati. Federal grant funds are used to conduct the testing, and H2Ohio funds are used to replace lead service lines and fixtures at childcare facilities.
Ohio EPA used its H2Ohio funds to leverage more than $20 million in federal, state, and local funds.
In addition, Ohio EPA issued a request for technologies for the H2Ohio Technology Assessment Program (TAP) to identify technologies that may help address harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Lake Erie. Proposals will be accepted until Jan. 15, 2021.
In the future, Ohio EPA plans to continue to focus on improving Ohio’s water and wastewater infrastructure, replacing failed home sewage treatment systems, reducing lead exposure, and building a stronger stream monitoring network.
H2Ohio is a collaborative water quality effort to provide clean and safe water to Ohio. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and Ohio Lake Erie Commission each have a significant role in H2Ohio through the natural infrastructure of wetlands, the reduction in nutrient runoff, and increasing access to clean drinking water and quality sewer systems. To learn more, go to h2.ohio.gov.
The H2Ohio Year One Annual Report is available online at https://h2.ohio.gov/h2ohio-annual-report/.
Heidi Griesmer, Ohio EPA, 614-644-2160