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PO Box 1070, Frankfort, KY 40602  Phone 502.875.2428, Fax 502.875.2845

Ashland Independent: Cleaning up the River  Posted: July 19, 2003
Date July 14, 2003

KRC suggests changes in pollution control standards for the Ohio

By AARON ARNOLD

The Independent

LOUISVILLE A Kentucky environmental group thinks the quality of the Ohio River, while getting better over the years, still has much room for improvement.

The Kentucky Resources Council Inc. recently submitted its ideas on water pollution control standards to the Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO).

Cincinnati-based ORSANCO is currently reviewing those and other comments it received before the July 4 deadline and deciding what changes are needed to minimize pollution.

"ORSANCO and the KRC both have identified some areas of concern in water quality, but their language was a bit too lenient," said KRC Director Tom FitzGerald. "The Ohio River has become cleaner over time but there is still a long way to go."

The KRC is a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization whose membership includes individuals who use the resources of the Ohio River system, but would like to improve the water quality of the river and its tributaries.

Peter Tennant, deputy director of ORSANCO, said the council's comments are appreciated, adding he was impressed by the group's thoroughness.

"They are a very well thought-of group," Tennant said. "We actually miss their comments and suggestions on things when we don't get them."

Among the KRC's suggestions: a "Mussel Concentration Area; to identify where mussels live in the river; permanent discharge markers to help the public identify where discharges take place so illegal ones can be reported more easily; and mixing zone restrictions.

Mixing zones is the term given to an area where rainfall combines with discharge from business and residential sanitary sewers. In some areas, these mixtures flow into tributaries of the Ohio River, according to FitzGerald.

"The KRC has identified mixing zones as a significant problem and wants to put an end to them," he said.

Both groups agree they need to work to locate all the mixing zones before they can put a stop to them.

Tennant agreed that the quality of the Ohio River has improved in recent years.

"There are more fish today that can live in the Ohio River than ever before," Tennant said. "This makes fishermen happy and is an encouraging sign to us."

Some local fishermen feel there's still plenty of room for improvement.

"It would help if the standards were revised to improve water quality, but they still have a long way to go," said Charlie's Pro Bass owner Charlie Sheltie of Ashland. "There is too much barge traffic to keep the water from not being polluted."

More revisions to the Ohio River's Pollution Control Standards could take place in the future, Tennant said.

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AARON ARNOLD can be reached at aarnold@dailyindependent.com or (606)326-2656.



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