In its fight against algae in Ohio’s lakes and streams, the Ohio EPA is moving to expand enforcement of one of its regulations. It’s a move that might cause a bump in some water bills – about a $1-per-month increase per household, according to state and private-sector reports.
The money is for upgrading wastewater plants so they release no more than 1-milligram of phosphorus per liter of output. Ohio EPA wants a bill passed next year to make that limit, now only enforced in the Lake Erie basin, apply everywhere.
Jamie Gellner, president of The Ohio Environment Water Association, says his private non-profit treatment-industry group sees both a minus and a plus in the idea.
“A one-size-fits all limit in many cases will cost money where there wouldn’t be a benefit,” Gellner says. “Also acknowledging that in some of those watersheds there would be a benefit to having a point-sources limit on some of those discharges.”
“Point source” refers to municipal and industrial treatment plants. It's one of the five major ways phosphorus gets into surface waters.