Lucas Co. Commissioners respond to Lake Erie impairment declaration

Lucas Co. Commissioners respond to Lake Erie impairment declaration
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Lucas County Commissioners said it's about time for an impairment designation.

The President of the commissioners, Pete Gerken, said it's a new day in cleaning up Lake Erie.

Commissioners thanked Governor Kasich and the Ohio E-P--A for declaring the impairment Thursday afternoon.However they did mention that they've been calling for it since Toledo's drinking water crisis that happened almost four years ago.

Commissioner Carol Contrada said the impairment officially begins the hard work of developing a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The TMDL can legally require reductions in phosphorous loading into the lake.

She also is pleased it's not just an impairment for the lakeshore or the city's water intake crib, but the "open" waters from the Ohio and Michigan line to the Marblehead lighthouse.

Commissioner Gerken said this will inject accountability into cleaning the lake.

"Western Lake Erie is impaired. Western Lake Erie has been impaired, Western Lake Erie remains impaired and today the Governor of Ohio and the Ohio EPA woke up to the fact, the inconvenient truth that we all knew, that this lake is in trouble," said Gerken.

And commissioner Gerken said the impairment could mean Toledo will never have to go through another water crisis again.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation also responded to the impairment declaration:

"While we remain unconvinced that the impairment designation was necessary, we will make sure that farmers' voices are heard throughout the process"