Mayor Kapszukiewicz Pushes for a Total Maximum Daily Load for Lake Erie

Friday, August 10, 2018

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz followed through today on his promise to push for a total maximum daily load for Lake Erie.

The cities of Toledo and Oregon filed a joint Amicus Memorandum in U.S. District Court seeking the creation of a total maximum daily load (TMDL) for Lake Erie.

“I campaigned on cleaning up the lake and we are following through on that today by filing this motion,” Mayor Kapszukiewicz said. “We need to hold the non-point sources accountable and this is one way we can do it. We support the efforts of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie, and Mike Ferner, who has pushed for years to get tougher regulations for polluters. Toledo and Oregon taxpayers, as well as the water ratepayers in the entire Toledo region, are paying hundreds of millions of dollars for equipment, technology, and chemicals to treat our lake water because of harmful algal blooms. We need the problem to be fixed at the source and I believe a total maximum daily load is necessary for that effort.”

Toledo will spend $527 million on the Toledo Waterways Initiative Program by 2020 and more than $500 million on infrastructure improvements to improve water quality, yet there are no regulatory requirements on the vast majority of polluters who are responsible for the harmful algal blooms that happen every summer on the lake, the mayor said.

Toledo and Oregon are both located on Lake Erie and are greatly affected by its water quality. Toledo operates a water treatment plant that provides water to about 500,000 customers throughout northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Oregon operates a water treatment plant that provides water to the citizens of Oregon, Genoa, Northwood, Lake Township, Millbury, Jerusalem Township, Harbor View, and some other Lucas County local area pipelines.

The cities submitted the motion today to support the plaintiffs’ request to require a TMDL for Lake Erie.

“It is important for our communities to continue to work together to protect the lake,” Oregon Mayor Michael J. Seferian said.

The motions states: “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is refusing to protect the environment by continuing to allow the state of Ohio to ignore the mandates of the Clean Water Act and create a TMDL for Lake Erie. The Clean Water Act’s requirement to create a TMDL for an impaired waterway is a solution to a pollution problem that involves many independent actors. Eighty-eight percent of the phosphorus causing Harmful Algae Blooms comes from various nonpoint sources such as agricultural runoff.”

It further states: “The failure of the nonpoint polluters to change their behavior or share in any cost of the clean-up of Lake Erie will continue to burden the cities and damage the environment.”

A hearing in the case is scheduled before Judge James G. Carr on Aug. 21.