Ohio Senate Bill 2, a piece of legislation inspired by the Arco Recycling clean up to revise the state’s environmental protection laws, passed through the assembly June 22 and is expected to be signed by Gov. John Kasich, a report by cleveland.com says. The legislation is designed to give the state Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) more regulatory power.
According to the report, revisions include regulations on landfills, construction and demolition (C&D) debris and recycling sites, public water systems and Lake Erie protections.
If enacted, the bill allows the Ohio EPA to give regulatory authority over C&D recycling and processing facilities, which will force the sites to have financial assurance, the report says. With financial assurance, the company would cover most of the cost if the EPA decides the site needed cleaned up.
The bill would also give the state EPA the federal powers on permits for dredged materials taken from the Cuyahoga River. According to the report, the dredged materials from the river are being placed in Lake Erie rather than a facility. The state claims the materials would harm the lake’s ecosystem, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the cost of putting the materials in a facility are too high and refused to dredge unless the state paid the facility fees.
In order to release dredged materials into U.S. waters, the state EPA and the Army Corps. Must approve two separate permits. The state EPA can only approve or deny a permit, and the permit can still be waived, transferred or revoked on a federal level. If signed, the bill could allow the state EPA those revoking, transferring or waiving powers.
Lastly, the bill would require all Ohio public water systems to create an asset management program by October 2018. The report says the programs would require specific information, such as an inventory of all assets and a long-term funding strategy. The state EPA would oversee these programs, help smaller systems find money for upgrades and aiding in revising programs.
In terms of public water, the bill would also give the state director the power to appoint a “receiver” for programs that serve fewer than 500 connections or is a threat to public health. The community water system operators would also need to prove they have the money to improve or expand a system, the report says.