CINCINNATI, OH – In Cincinnati today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will visit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plant responsible for water quality testing following the toxic algal bloom that affected drinking water in Toledo earlier this month. Brown will meet with officials to encourage better coordination and communication with state and local agencies.
“While Ohioans have safe drinking water again, the worry is far from over,” Brown said. “Hundreds of Ohioans dedicate their professional lives to testing water quality. We must all focus on comprehensive solutions to ensure that Lake Erie remains clear and Ohioans are safe.”
Andrew W. Breidenbach Environmental Research Center (AWBERC) is the second largest research and development facility owned and operated by EPA. The plant’s activities primarily focus on risk assessment, environmental monitoring, research and development, and testing for drinking water, waste water, and land contamination.
Brown is committed to ensuring that all Ohioans have access to clean, safe, and affordable water. Earlier this week, Brown was in Toledo to announce $2 million in new federal emergency fundss to reduce runoff in the Western Lake Erie Basin. He is encouraging local agricultural producers to enroll in the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which provides resources for producers to implement conservation practices. These include preventive measures to reduce phosphorus runoff and prevent pollution in the Lake Erie Watershed.
Brown helped establish the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) that would provide up to $1.2 billion nationwide for farmers to implement conservation measures, including those that could reduce runoff into Lake Erie. The Tri-State Western Lake Erie Basin Phosphorus Reduction Initiative, a partnership among Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana, has advanced to the next stage of consideration for a $20 million federal award – $13 million of which would go to Ohio.
Brown also plans to reintroduce the Clean Water Affordability Act, which would direct additional funding to communities in Ohio to eliminate combined sewer overflows, which are a contributing factor in harmful algal blooms. Brown first introduced this legislation with former Senator George V. Voinovich (R-OH) in 2008 and worked with local officials across Ohio to fine-tune the bill. Brown will reintroduce the bill this fall.