The EPA has released a scathing new report that finds Lake Erie is in “poor shape” when it comes to the other Great Lakes.
The report, released Wednesday, blames pollution, poor habitats, and algal blooms.
So what does that mean for people living in Northeast Ohio?
Channel 3 News inquired about the safety of drinking water, beaches and fish consumption.
According to the EPA, drinking water quality remains “good” and “unchanging” so long as it continues to be treated.
Beaches are also safe for swimming, so long as people pay attention to bacteria warnings. The agency points out that such warnings have become more common in recent years due to heavy rain, poor septic systems, and even large flocks of gulls.
As for fish, the EPA recommends limiting consumption. They report levels of PCBs and mercury have risen slowly, affecting edible fish.
They give fish the status of “fair” and not “good” when it comes to consumption.
Earlier this year, Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman added their voices to calls to designate Lake Erie as “impaired” so that more federal aid could help keep it clean. Their wish was not granted.
On Wednesday both offices released statements in response to the EPA report.
From Senator Sherrod Brown:
“As a kid, I can remember how polluted Lake Erie was. This report demonstrates that, while we have made huge strides in cleaning up our Great Lakes, there is still more to do. I will continue to work with my Ohio colleagues – Republicans and Democrats alike -- to protect Lake Erie from dangerous proposals to zero out the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Any cuts to Great Lakes funding threatens the health of Lake Erie and the millions of Ohioans who rely on it, putting jobs and our water supply at risk.”
From Emily Benavides, Rob Portman’s Press Secretary:
“Lake Erie is important to Ohio not only ecologically, but economically as well, which is why Rob has fought so hard to preserve full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. This bipartisan public-private program helps protect our environment and strengthen Ohio’s economy. We won the fight to maintain full funding for GLRI for this fiscal year, and Rob will continue to help lead the effort in the Senate to do so again next fiscal year.”