On June 1, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) will begin enforcing new rules to better protect public water systems from harmful occurrences of cyanobacteria and harmful algal blooms (HABs).
The rules come as Ohio’s surface water sources, including lakes, reservoirs and rivers, continue to experience HABs, and are a necessary step since monitoring and reporting programs were previously voluntary. These rules will allow the Ohio EPA to better understand HABs in the state, including how often and where they are occurring, and to design better protective measures for state residents.
The rules stipulate that public water systems that use surface water sources must monitor those sources and report any instances of HABs to the Ohio EPA. They also use federal health advisory levels to determine action levels for drinking water and require public water systems to evaluate how effective their current treatment methods are in treating HABs. The Ohio EPA will also require public water systems to submit treatment plans for microcystins, whether detected in raw or finished drinking water, and establish laboratory certification, analytical techniques and reporting requirements.
These rules were created following educational webinars hosted by the Ohio EPA and public comment periods on the rules’ various drafts.