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Ottawa River Contact Advisory Removal

Ottawa River Press ConferenceRecently, the Toledo Lucas County Health Department held a press conference on the historic removal of the no-contact advisory from the Ottawa River. In 2011, the advisory was lifted for 17 miles of the western part of the Ottawa River. The lower 8.8 miles of the river from Stickney to Lagrange Street had remained under advisory for over 25 years due to high levels of PCBs and other contaminants until earlier this year. For many years, the Ottawa River was once considered the most polluted waterway in Ohio due to its downstream position from the area’s industrial landfills and heavy manufacturing. Building on the decision by the Ohio EPA to allow limited consumption of fish caught in the Ottawa River in 2017, this announcement proves that the dedication and collaboration of government agencies, organizations, and concerned individuals can make positive environmental impacts. Much effort has been made to cap the pollution flowing into this river, remove historic contamination, and promote its recreational and social value. Increased water recreation opportunities, enhanced aesthetics of the river, and increasing populations of birds and wildlife are all indicative of an improved river. While there is still work to be done, the progress made, in part, by the Maumee Area of Concern Advisory Committee has been vital to restoring the health of the Ottawa River and relinking the community to this water resource.

The Maumee AOC Committee works toward fishable and swimmable waters in the Maumee Area of Concern and delisting the beneficial use impairments. The Committee is working towards all major restoration projects being completed by 2025, through collaboration of partners and volunteer opportunities by its facilitating organization, Partners for Clean Streams. The committee is made up of representatives from various organizations, citizens, businesses and non-government agencies to build long term solutions to the area’s water quality issues.