Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
ENHANCING WATER QUALITY AND IMPROVING PUBLIC HEALTH
Ohio’s communities rely on clean drinking water and wastewater infrastructure to protect public health; however, some people still don’t have access to good, quality drinking water or sewer systems. H2Ohio will help ensure clean water by:
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 Northwest and Southeast Ohio, with more projects to come.
Thirteen H2Ohio drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects, identified on the map (right), will receive a total of $7.4 million to improve water service for thousands of residents across the state.
Projects include the construction of a new water treatment plant, the replacement of aging water lines, and the installation of new water lines and water mains. New wastewater infrastructure projects will solve sewer system backups, extend sanitary sewers, and replace failing household sewage treatment systems with new sewers. Projects were selected based on the community’s economic needs and project readiness.
Addressing Failing Home Sewage Treatment Systems
It is estimated that approximately 31 percent of all household sewage treatment systems in Ohio are experiencing some degree of failure and are discharging untreated sewage that potentially exposes citizens to harmful bacteria and pathogens.
A total of $1.6 million in H2Ohio funding will go to the counties listed below to help low- to moderate-income households repair and replace failing home sewage treatment systems. Each county will receive $150,000 for the projects.
Ohio EPA used $2.5 million in year one from the H2Ohio to fund replacement of 250-300 failing home sewage treatment systems for low-income households. Since 2016, Ohio EPA has paid nearly $42 million and replaced more than 3,800 failing home sewage treatment systems.
Adding Water Quality Monitors
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 (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.
Ohio EPA identified ten emerging technologies that could play an important role in the reduction of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Lake Erie. H2Ohio TAP completed an initial screening of technology proposals, and they have now been submitted to a third-party technical team with experience in environmental technologies. This team will complete a more in-depth evaluation of efficacy and scalability of the proposed technologies in addressing HABs and nutrients, particularly in Lake Erie.
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