May/June 2011
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“No Contact” Advisory Lifted on Ottawa River  

The “no contact” advisory for the Ottawa River above river mile 8.6 in Toledo has been removed by order of Ohio Department of Health Director Ted Wymyslo, M.D. The advisory had been in place since April 1991, after sampling conducted in 1986 and 1990 by the Ohio EPA found high levels of PCBs in fish and sediment in the lower eight miles of the river, especially in the area near the Dura Avenue and Stickney Road landfills.

The no contact advisory remains in place for the lower 8.6 miles of the river from the eastern I- 475 bridge to Lake Erie. However, the “do not eat” fish consumption advisory continues for the entire section of the river up to river mile 17, north of Wildwood Preserve where I-475 again crosses the river.

According to a press release from the Ohio EPA, their staff will conduct extensive monitoring in the river this year. They will sample sediment and fish tissue related to the advisories and sample river conditions related to four stream restoration projects funded by Ohio EPA. Three of these restoration projects will be getting underway in 2011. The fourth was recently completed. That project involved the removal of contaminated sediments at the area near the landfill, the area that showed the highest levels of PCBs, PAHs, and heavy metals.

The Ohio EPA also will conduct a thorough water quality study of a portion of Ten Mile Creek, the mainstem of the Ottawa River, and other tributaries this year as part of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program. TMDLs examine sediment and water chemistry, fish and macroinvertebrate populations, and habitat to determine the overall health of a watershed and identify impaired areas.

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