ET-4A (6/24/05 version)
Environmental Targets And Priorities, Chemical Integrity: Introduction And Scope


Previous Ohio NPS Plans have been organized by land use. There is no question of the influence land use plays on NPS issues throughout the U.S. However, land uses are not the performance indicators that are used to establish the condition of NPS impacted water resources in Ohio. Rather, aquatic life use attainment or impairment is the indicator. As of 2004, 48% of the assessed Ohio WAUs and 64% of the assessed LRAUs are in full aquatic life use attainment; 24% of assessed WAUs and 21% of LRAUs are in partial attainment with aquatic life use standards.

Once Ohio EPA data indicate water quality impairment is occurring, general data about the causes of impairment is collected and summarized in the Integrated Water Quality Report, as the first step in determining solutions. In watersheds where watershed action planning or a TMDL are underway more detailed information about causes and sources is collected to establish environmental targets and target implementation areas. And, ultimately local watershed organizations select management measures that address land use changes. Consequently, the management measures list in the NPS Plan 2005-2010 is categorized both by land use and cause of impairment.

Figure 1. Getting to the Point about Non-point

Figure 1 illustrates this nested series of outcomes in the form of a target. Local NPS partners identify the land use changes that can occur to solve NPS problems, or the outer ring in the target. State and federal partners identify the NPS causes of impairment that stem from existing land uses, or the middle ring in the target. If properly coordinated, identification of NPS causes and local land use management decisions will allow Ohio to hit the "bulls eye" or aquatic life use attainment.

Cause-based Approach

Without the causes of water quality impairment or threat clearly identified, impairment is a fact without a solution, and management measure implementation occurs based on the hope rather than the knowledge that they will solve the problem. In essence, causes of impairment are the "glue" that holds the target in Figure 1 together. Therefore, the Ohio NPS Plan 2005-2010 is organized by the major causes of surface water quality impairment and ground water impact or threat.

This section focuses on causes that affect water chemistry and that are generally controlled by pollution prevention or abatement. Habitat and hydromodification causes of impairment are addressed in the stream integrity section.


The following issues are outside the scope of this round of NPS chemical integrity target development for Ohio. This decision is not meant to minimize the importance of these issues to Ohio water resource integrity. Rather, these pollution issues are complex enough that they are either now regulated, or, in many cases, regional approaches are underway, and more time will be needed to research, discuss, and establish meaningful Ohio-specific targets. Some basic "as is" information is available below.

Air Deposition

  • Because Ohio is located on one of the Great Lakes and in the heart of a coal-burning power plant region, air deposition is a NPS issue, particularly mercury. Specifically, Ohio has a state-wide fish consumption advisory of no more than one meal per week due the presence of mercury. For the first time, the 2004 Ohio EPA Integrated Water Quality Report analyzed whether fish consumption advisories (FCA) warrant a finding that Water Quality Standards are exceeded, thus placing some FCA waters in Category 5 (impaired and needing a TMDL for the pollutant).
  • Large bodies of water such as Lake Erie act as "sinks" for air-borne contaminants. This phenomenon is currently being addressed by the Great Lakes Bi-national Toxics Strategy led by USEPA and Environment Canada, to implement the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the Great Lakes Air Deposition (GLAD) Program that supports research into issues related to the toxic contamination of water bodies in the Great Lakes region by airborne pollutants.
  • The AIROHIO website contains links to air quality reports, ozone reports (April-September), air quality summaries (May-September), ground-level ozone maps (May-September), air quality index forecasts, ozone action day programs, pollen and mold summaries and air monitoring sites in Ohio.

Contaminated Sediments

  • Contaminated sediments are the primary cause of impairment in 5% of Ohio WAUs and 14% of Ohio LRAUs.
  • There are existing contaminated sediment remediation targets for the Maumee and Ashtabula Areas of Concern, as well as 4 other river mouth, harbor, or bay locations on Lake Erie.
  • As a result of contaminated sediment removal in the Black River Area of Concern, the Ohio Department of Health lifted a 21 year old "avoid contact" advisory for the river.
  • Existing information about contaminant concentrations in Lake Erie bed Sediments is summarized in Chapter 5 of the Lake Erie LaMP 2002 Update.
  • The 2002 Great Lakes Legacy Act authorizes $270 million to clean up contaminated sediments in the Great Lakes.

Regulated Sources of NPS