TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Toledo Federal Court Judge James Carr has ruled the Clean Water Act should be enforced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
It's a victory for the Environmental Law and Policy Center, which argued in its lawsuit the agency should be more aggressive about reducing nutrient pollution causing harmful algae blooms in Lake Erie.
"It makes me feel good as a father of four kids who wants to see drinking water protected," according to Frank Szolosi of the National Wildlife Federation.
He said a voluntary approach to nutrient reductions is failing.
A plan with teeth needs to be implemented to identify the source and amount of nutrients across the region.
"So whether it's agriculture, cities or a family septic tank system around the region, it sends a signal: reduce your nutrients or else there will be consequences," said Szolosi.
Lake Erie charter boat captains approve of the ruling. But they're concerned about how long before it's implemented.
Dave Spangler of Dr. Bugs Charters believes a U.S. E. P.A. plan would take 8 to 10 years to implement and Ohio needs to take immediate, interim action.
"What we would like to see is something at the state level, Department of Agriculture, EPA. The state itself needs to enact something in the way of regulations," said Spangler.
The number one priority he said for now is to crack down on agriculture runoff.
"We have an awful lot of farmers doing great things but we still have a lot of them out there doing things they don't need to do" adds Spangler.
Judge Carr has given the U.S. E.P.A. thirty days to come up with a plan to comply with the Clean Water Act to protect Lake Erie from impairment by continuing harmful algae blooms.