Ohio’s Water Agencies Funded in State Budget
Ohio has six Areawide Water Quality Management planning agencies that manage sewer and sewerage plans around six large metropolitan areas. These regional plans (called the 208 Plan after that section of the Clean Water Act) are constantly updated and amended as communities grow and create infrastructure to invite industry. But even as federal and state mandates affecting water resources increased, federal funding passed through the state was evaporating. In 2009, funding to the areawides was less than 1% of the funding available for this work when it began 35 years ago.
Now the State of Ohio has approved its biennial budget which includes $75,000 per year for each of the areawide agencies. Effective use of the 208 Plan means that decisions about where our region’s sewers are built and which jurisdictions are responsible for maintenance will continue to be decided by the parties involved. Because the Ohio EPA cannot legally issue permits for sewers and treatment facilities which conflict with regional plans, the work of the areawides is essential to economic development as well as to environmental protection. In our region, the 208 Plan covers Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, and Wood counties in Ohio; and Bedford, Erie, and Whiteford townships of Monroe County, Michigan.