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Letter to the Editor: Ruth Bamberger says ORSANCO should stick to its original water quality mission

To the editor:

NKY Citizens Have Opportunity to Address Ohio River Pollution Standards

The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) will be holding its quarterly meeting February 12-14 at the Embassy Suites in Covington. The meeting on the 14th will begin at 9 a.m. and is open to the public.

Of immediate concern to local residents is the Commission’s proposal to remove its authority to regulate water pollution standards and do primarily water monitoring and education about water quality.

The Ohio River has been and remains one of the most polluted rivers in the country, according to the EPA. In 1948, eight Ohio River Valley states established ORSANCO for the purpose of conducting water monitoring and research, followed by setting water quality standards. As a result, the river is cleaner today due to the Commission’s efforts along with the establishment of the federal Clean Water Act of 1972; however, there is still much room for improvement.

Some ORSANCO commissioners have proposed the elimination of its mission to regulate pollution, arguing that the states can do this independently as well as the EPA under the Clean Water rules.

This position raises two problems. First, the Ohio River flows through many states, and what one state decides can adversely affect other states. The river does not respect boundaries! Secondly, the EPA currently is weakened by the loss of technical personnel and its leadership’s efforts to weaken clean water rules.

We need to maintain the original mission of ORSANCO to set water quality standards for the Ohio River.

The river provides drinking water for over five million people and is a popular destination for boating and water sports. A large turnout at the February 14th meeting is needed to let the ORSANCO commission know that our river city residents want strong water quality standards.

Ruth Bamberger

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