Authorities Punt on Decision to Eliminate Water Quality Standards for the Ohio River

Oct 4, 2018

The Ohio River near Maysville, Ky.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The commission has for months now been considering a proposal that would roll back its oversight of water pollution control standards along the Ohio River.

The 8-state body says standards set by member states will protect water quality in the Ohio. And the board argues the federal EPA will provide adequate oversight.

But at a meeting Thursday, the committee tasked with making recommendations to the commission said it needed more time.

ORSANCO Director Richard Harrison says thousands of people have weighed in on the proposal.

"Really the amount of comment is the reason the committee is taking some more time to deliberate and really make sure we continue our thorough review," he said.

Conservation groups cheered the decision. They have mounted a campaign against the proposal saying it could diminish water quality in the Ohio. That could affect ecosystems and jeopardize the river, which is a source of drinking water for 5 million people.

Robin Blakeman is with the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition.

"We're really glad they didn't go that route at this time," Blakeman said. 

ORSANCO is next scheduled to meet in February in Covington, KY.