Water Pollution | WOSU Radio

Water Pollution

Fire battalion chief, Silverio Caggiano with the Youngstown Fire Department says keeping the identity of some chemicals used in fracking secret puts the public at risk.
Julie Grant / Allegheny Front

A new analysis by the nonprofit Partnership for Policy Integrity finds that "trade secret" chemicals were injected into gas and oil wells nearly 11,000 times in Ohio during a five-year period. 

The Trump administration is changing the definition of what qualifies as "waters of the United States," tossing out an Obama-era regulation that had enhanced protections for wetlands and smaller waterways.

Thursday's rollback is the first step in a process that will allow the Trump administration to create its own definition of which waters deserve federal protection. A new rule is expected to be finalized this winter.

A majority of people in Northwest Ohio — where algal blooms in Lake Erie are causing public health problems — think there should be new regulations to prevent farm fertilizer and manure from flowing into Lake Erie, according to a poll released Sept. 10.

Officials from Cuyahoga County’s Board of Health will be back out to beaches in Bay Village this week to check for hazards from an algae bloom.

The algae at Columbia Park Beach and Bay Park Beach was found last week.

Tests for the harmful bacteria caused by algae came back under the hazardous threshold, said Tom Fink from the board of health.

An advisory was posted in the park at the end of Columbia Road and the public access was closed off by Bay Village officials.

Kayaker in Cuyahoga River
Mark Urycki / Ideastream

Proposed changes to Ohio's water quality monitoring program would reduce the number of water samples taken from the state's rivers and streams and the number of sampling areas while increasing the size of the areas surveyed.

In Florida, the Army Corps of Engineers is working to combat a growing environmental menace: blue-green algae. Nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from farms and subdivisions combines with warm summer weather to create massive blooms of algae in rivers and lakes that can be toxic.

One of Ashtabula's 19 covered bridges crosses the river just south of town. A total of 46 miles of the river and its tributaries were named scenic rivers in 2008.
Jeff St. Clair / WKSU

Patricia Seymour grew up in Ashtabula in the 1960ss. On bright spring day at the city’s bustling harbor, Seymour recalls a childhood landscape more reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings.

“It was like Mordor,” Seymour says.

lgae floats in the water at the Maumee Bay State Park marina in Lake Erie in Oregon, Ohio, on Sept. 15, 2017.
Paul Sancya / AP

Heavy rains that inundated the Great Lakes region this spring will fuel another massive algae bloom across parts of western Lake Erie later this summer, researchers said Thursday.

Mussels may be popular among seafood lovers, but many boaters consider them pests. They colonize ship bottoms, clog water pipes and stick to motors.

Three students from Dublin Jerome High School created an affordable, solar-powered robot to fix water pollution.
Gabe Rosenberg / WOSU

Three Dublin Jerome High School students created what they say is an affordable, solar-powered robot that can monitor and remediate water pollution.  They’re taking their invention to a national competition at The Ohio State University this weekend.

States in the Ohio River basin will be able to choose whether or not to follow pollution control standards set by the Ohio River Water Sanitation Commission. ORSANCO's board of directors approved the change at a meeting in Covington Thursday morning.

Lake Erie algea
WKSU

In a special election Tuesday, voters in Toledo said yes to a ballot measure that amends the city charter to include a Lake Erie Bill of Rights. With about 8.9 percent turnout of eligible voters, the ordinance won approval with over 61 percent of the vote.

Next Tuesday, Feb. 26, the residents of Toledo will have the chance to vote on an unusual (some might even say radical) proposal: whether to give the fourth largest lake in the United States its own Bill of Rights. If the ballot measure passes, it would be a win for the small but growing “rights of nature” movement, which aims to deter activities that pollute the environment by granting legal rights to ecosystems.

The Cincinnati skyline and John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge is seen from the banks of the Ohio River, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, in Covington, Ky.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

A multi-state commission charged with ensuring water quality in the Ohio River will consider whether to eliminate its pollution control standards at its meeting on February 14. Thousands of people have expressed opposition during a public comment period, while others argue that the regulations are redundant and have no teeth.

Aleigha Sloan can't remember ever drinking a glass of water from the tap at her home.

That is "absolutely dangerous," the 17-year-old says, wrinkling her nose and making a face at the thought.

"You just don't touch that tap water unless absolutely necessary. I mean, like showers and things — you have to do what you have to do. But other than that, no," she says. "I don't know anybody that does."

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