The Ohio River is a water supply source for over five million Americans. It’s also at the top of the list for most polluted rivers in the country. Right now, the public has a chance to help improve that ranking.
The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) sets water pollution limits for the states along the Ohio River. The Commission has been around since 1948, and has helped clean up the river a lot. But lately, it seems like efforts have been stuck in neutral–and even moving in reverse.
In 2003, the Commission agreed to ban the use of dilution zones for certain types of pollutants, including mercury, because they were toxic to humans. They gave polluters ten years to update or change their processes.
Ten years later, in 2013, after having not enforced that deadline, the Commission wavered, and set up a way for polluters to temporarily continue with that bad practice.
Then, last year, the Commission began pondering whether they should get rid of the the ban altogether.
Now, the Commission is asking for input from the public about a proposal to remove the ban for any facilities pre-2003, and to even change the pollution limit on mercury, or maybe leave it up to states, who all have different limits.
Citizens across the Ohio River Basin have an opportunity to influence the Commission’s proposal on mercury and a few other select issues through the regulatory review process (called the Triennial Review). If you want to read up on the issues, here’s our blog detailing KWA’s positions on the issues.
Want more technical information? Click here for KWA’s full comments on the issue..
The commenting deadline has passed–but don’t worry, we have another opportunity for you to take action on this important issue. We’ve put together a petition that we’ll be gathering signatures for all summer long. We want to demonstrate to ORSANCO that citizens across the Ohio River Basin want clean water!