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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Ohio EPA Fines Ohio DNR For Dirty Drinking Water

COLUMBUS (TDB) -- The state-operated public water system serving Salt Fork State Park in Guernsey County fails to meet Safe Drinking Water Act standards and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has been slapped with $10,200 in civil penalties, The Daily Bellwether has learned.

The state controlling board will be asked to release funds Monday to pay the fine levied by the Ohio EPA last Nov. 28. A report filed with the controlling board describes problems at Salt Fork, Ohio's largest state park, and says:

"The Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Parks and Recreation, operates a nontransient, noncommunity public water system that provides potable water to all facilities within Salt Fork State Park. The existing treatment plant utilizes a slow sand filtration process with chlorination to treat raw water drawn from the lake. This process, when combined with higher levels of organic materials and natural turbidity occurring in the lake, is incapable of meeting the OEPA's current maximum contaminant levels for total trihalomethanes, haloacetic acids five, and other disinfection byproducts (DBP's)."

There is a lot of information about disinfection byproducts and debate about health effects, including cancer risks after years of exposure. More information is HERE.

The state park eventually will have a new water treatment plant, perhaps by 2011, according to the document filed with the controlling board.

"ODNR, with the knowledge and approval of OEPA, has initiated a pilot study for the eventual replacement of the existing water plant with a new treatment process that will produce water meeting current requirements. A temporary auxiliary granular carbon filtration unit has also been installed within the existing treatment system is order to significantly reduce DBP levels until the pilot study is completed, approved by OEPA, and the new plant designed and constructed (estimated completion in 2011)."

The sad thing about the fine is that one branch of state government is taking money from another -- a shuffle. Why not waive the fine and push DNR to fix the water system sooner?

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