Source Water Protection Plan

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


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Between Follansbee, West Virginia and East Liverpool, Ohio a distance of about 30 river miles--there are six communities and one large industry that use the Ohio River as a source of drinking water. In 2012, representatives from several of these communities met to consider what they could do collectively to lessen impacts on the rivers water quality from other uses the river provides: industrial transport, industrial cooling, discharge of wastewater, recreation, etc. Over the course of six meetings, a joint source water protection plan was developed and ultimately agreed to by three of the six public water systems: the City of Toronto, the City of Steubenville and Buckeye Water District, which serves the Village of Wellsville. The initial step was to identify the activities occurring within the vicinity of these public water systems that could have the greatest potential impact on water quality, due to the amounts of chemicals involved and/or direct discharge to the Ohio River. These included river traffic, steel mills, power plants, chemical manufacturers and petroleum tank farms within this area. The next step was to identify activities the systems could implement to lessen the threats from the various potential sources of contamination. It was clear that the first line of defense is a facilitys own effortsits Spill Prevention, Control and Counter-measures Plan, Facility Operations Plan, and compliance with environmental regulatory requirements. The second line of defense is the early warning function provided by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), and spill response by the companies contracted by industries to respond to a spill, coordinating with county Emergency Management Agencies (EMAs) and the Coast Guard. The third line of defense is public awareness and vigilance, which is greatly facilitated by the work performed by the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District. The most effective strategy public water suppliers can pursue is to maintain good contact with all these groups, sharing information and concerns, and working together on solutions to water quality issues. As a result, the centerpiece of this joint source water protection plan is regularly scheduled meetings between public water suppliers and representatives of the various local industries. Public water suppliers also will improve communications with the county EMA. Other planned activities, focusing on better contact and public information, are included in the implementation plan on the following three pages. By working together, the public water suppliers can pursue similar goals without overlap, and can share the effort involved. It is hoped that the other communities within this 30-mile stretch that use the Ohio River for public drinking water will recognize the value of this plan and will eventually become formal participants in its implementation. Visit the Ohio EPA link below to read the complete plan.  www.epa.ohio.gov/Portals/28/documents/swap/UpperOhioRiverFINAL.pdf