Vilvens signs with Mount St. Joseph SBAAC awards girls tennis all-stars Layman inducted into Miami University Athletic Hall of Fame SBAAC hands out awards to First Team girls’ soccer all-stars John D Marks Fourteen indicted by Brown County Grand Jury Commissioners donate to task force Voters return Worley to the bench Georgetown Police Department welcomes new officers Ruby A Ratliff Donna J Moore Stella M Glasscock Ellen L Gelter Alverda T Guillermin Justin N Beach EHS dedicates ‘Kiser Court’ SBAAC awards First Team football all-stars, winning teams Sizer earns SBAAC American Division Volleyball Player of Year honors for 3rd straight year Broncos to host Blue Jays for OHSAA ‘Jimmy Young’ Foundation Game, Nov. 17 Vern W Kidd Jr Brown County Election Results – 2017 Michael D Hines Raymond W Napier Leslie E Boyle Gary L Barber Meth makes a comeback The bomber crash of 1944 4-H holds ‘shootout’ with BCSO County jobless rate falls Russell K Wolfer SHAC recognizes volleyball all-stars SHAC cross country all-stars take home awards Eastern girls finish runner-up in SHAC golf standings Week 10 football roundup Kathleen J Bright Sister Marjean Clement Veterans Service Office Moves G’town FFA has great fair Bald Eagles spotted 2017 Celebration of Lights being planned Eight indicted by grand jury Carlos L Beck Georgetown XC teams qualify for regional championship meet Warriors advance to Div. II Regional Meet Lady Rockets reach end to successful volleyball season Week nine football roundup Lady Warriors regional bound Amy J Caudill Bertha Lindsey Bobby S Conley Body found in ditch, investigation underway Former Aberdeen Fiscal Officer pleads guilty Keeping kids safe on the school bus Mary E Hahn Gary R Cornette Week 8 football roundup Notable soccer season reaches end for G-Men Lady Broncos are SBAAC American Division XC champs SHAC XC title goes to Lady Warriors Arthur Smith Eugene M Jennings Jr Billy R Kilgore Sr Carol D Roberts Thelma L Gray Sheriff Ellis meets President Trump Quarter Auction to pay for fire engine restoration Upcoming Quarter Raffle, Oct. 14 to benefit PRC Man found dead in ditch Rev Alvin B Woodruff Jackson L Russell Lady Broncos bring home 11th SBAAC American Division title in 12 years Lady Rockets wrap up regular season Warriors rally for win Broncos make it two in a row Helen L Whalen Veterans saluted at the Brown County Fair Fayetteville cancels school after threat Tommy J Stamper Sue Day Broncos move closer to SBAAC American Division title Lady G-Men working hard, showing improvement Sports complex soon to open in Mt. Orab Week 6 football roundup H Ray Warnock Jennings faces multiple sex offenses Georgetown nears water system completion Bible Baptist Barbeque brings big crowd Linda Taylor Rene Sizemore-Dahlheimer Eugene Snider Eric Workman Gregory Terry Edith M Moore Eileen Womacks Michael C Jennings Janice K Brunner Cheer squads compete at ‘Little State Fair’ Truck, tractor pulls draw a crowd at Brown County Fair Week 5 football roundup Lady Broncos rise to 11-6 with win over Batavia

An important victory for Ohio’s waterways

Freshwater reserves that provide drinking water to millions of people in Ohio are under threat from toxins carried by the spread of algal blooms creating a serious public health concern. Unfortunately, a lot of Ohioans are already familiar with the health risks these toxins present.

This month is the one year anniversary of the Toledo water crisis when up to 500,000 people were without access to clean drinking water after a harmful algal bloom entered the area’s water treatment plant. I met with many of those who were personally affected after I filled my pickup with bottled water and helped pass out bottles to families who couldn’t use their tap water. It was a dire situation that lasted for three long days.

Just last month, experts predicted that this summer Lake Erie is on track to experience one of the most severe toxic algal bloom outbreaks in recent years. Eleven million people rely on Lake Erie for their drinking supplies, including three million in Ohio. Just last week, massive algal blooms were detected in the Western Lake Erie Basin, only a few miles from the city of Toledo’s water supply intake valve. Because of this, Toledo city officials have changed the city’s water quality status from “clear” to “watch,” as small amounts of toxins drifted closer to the intake valve.

And although protecting human health has to be our primary concern, there is an economic impact, as well. Many communities rely on our waterways as critical economic pillars. Lake Erie brought in $1.8 billion in economic activity and $226.3 million in taxes for 2013 alone. Tourism around the lake supports one 1 out of every 4 private sector jobs. I visited Lake Erie last month and hosted a town-hall meeting with local, state, and federal experts to discuss the threats to Lake Erie such as harmful algal blooms and invasive species. I spoke with small business owners, fishing boat captains, and residents and they were concerned about the future of the lake. Fighting harmful algal blooms is necessary to maintaining a healthy environment as well as a strong economy.

Toledo is not the only city in our state dealing with this issue. According to the Ohio EPA, 42 water systems in Ohio are susceptible to harmful algal blooms. The city of Celina spends $450,000 annually to combat algae in Grand Lakes St. Marys, and Columbus was forced to spend $723,000 to mitigate an algae outbreak at Hoover Reservoir in 2013. In fact, all states are at risk, as the frequency and distribution of harmful algal blooms have increased significantly in recent years. Local officials are working hard to solve this problem, and yet newly published images from a NASA satellite detect thick algal blooms across the middle of Lake Erie’s Western Basin.

Fortunately, last week, the Senate passed the Drinking Water Protection Act, a bill I introduced with Senator Sherrod Brown that will help protect Lake Erie and other fresh bodies of water. This important legislation directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and report to Congress a strategic Algal Toxin Risk Assessment and Management Plan within 90 days. This plan is required to evaluate and identify the risk to human health from drinking water contaminated with algal toxins and recommend feasible treatment options, including procedures on how to prevent algal toxins from reaching local water supplies and mitigate any adverse public health effects of algal toxins.

I am very pleased that my legislation, which previously passed by the House of Representatives with the leadership of Congressman Bob Latta, is now on its way to the President’s desk. It is one step towards stopping these toxic algal blooms and the health dangers they represent. I will continue to fight to ensure that all levels of government are committed to fighting this threat.

Rob Portman is a United States Senator from the state of Ohio.

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By Rob Portman

Contributing Columnist

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