Lawsuit filed to improve Lake Erie drinking water

CLEVELAND - A handful of Ohio and Michigan environmental groups have filed a lawsuit to have Lake Erie declared "impaired" in order to improve its drinking water.

The National Wildlife Federation, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, Lake Erie Foundation, Michigan United Conservation Clubs and Ohio Environmental Council filed the lawsuit in federal district court Tuesday.

According to a spokesperson for Alliance for the Great Lakes, the lawsuit is in response to the Environmental Protection Agency's "failure to perform its duty to accept or deny Ohio's decisions on whether Lake Erie is 'impaired.'"

An "impaired" designation under the Clean Water Act means that water quality doesn't meet legal standards. As a result, state and federal partners are forced to create a plan to restore the water's quality.

The groups hope to avoid a water crisis like the one that occurred in Toledo in 2014, in which an algae bloom poisoned the area drinking water. 

The state of Michigan has already listed a portion of its share of Lake Erie as "impaired," but the groups behind the lawsuit say Michigan can't fix the issue alone.

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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