TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Since the Toledo water crisis that happened over three years ago, in addition to the green water Toledoans witnessed in the Maumee River in summer 2017, some officials in the area have demanded impairment status for Western Lake Erie.
And by Thursday afternoon, they finally got it based upon thanks to the decision made by the Ohio EPA. It's a decision that many are hoping could pave the way for increased pollution regulations.
The new water quality designation does not mean that the western end of the lake isn't safe for drinking water, or swimmers and boaters. What it means is there is a plan in place by the Ohio EPA to fight the algae issues in the lake.
"Some people think it brings a lot more money to the table, not necessarily. Some people believe that it brings more regulation, not necessarily. If impaired status creates additional sense of urgency and focus on Lake Erie, fine," said State Senator Randy Gardner.
"This is a record breaking year for perch and walleye. And we have a huge opportunity to invite throngs of people into our area to go fishing. And, you know, the only thing that will slow that down or change it is green water," said Sandy Bihn, the executive director of the Lake Erie Foundation.
Earlier this week, Senator Gardner announced a new Clean Lake 2020 plan to speed up the lake cleanup process with a proposed $100 million a year funding.
Ohio Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown announced full funding of $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Wednesday.