The Environmental Protection Agency has 90 days to approve or disapprove a plan released by the Ohio EPA focused on reducing phosphorus in the Maumee River watershed, a major source of water in the western Lake Erie basin.

The implementation plan in the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) technical report says it was "developed as part of the TMDL process and considers where and how implementation activities are targeted." Most nonpoint source reductions, however, will remain voluntary.

"The science behind Ohio EPA’s TMDL program will help guide our work as we continue to seek ways to improve the health of Lake Erie and all the waterways in Northwest Ohio,” said Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Mary Mertz.

In a news release, the Ohio EPA states the plan was developed through “extensive” outreach and that it addresses 15 months of public comment.

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“Water quality continues to be a top priority here at the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The Maumee TMDL is an important tool that compliments the voluntary practices our agricultural community is diligently implementing through H2Ohio and other conservation programs,” said Ohio Agriculture Director Brian Baldridge.

The plan says no concentrated animal feeding operations in the watershed require National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit coverage. "While CAFOs are defined as point sources, unless they are designed to discharge non-agricultural stormwater, they are not compelled to seek NPDES permit coverage," the plan says.

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