State Reps. Mike Sheehy (D-Oregon) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) announced today the introduction of legislation to require the monitoring of the harmful toxin microcystin in Ohio’s public water systems.
“After over 400,000 Northwest Ohioans were forced to go without water in August, it became clear that we need a better, more established system for monitoring our public water systems,” said Rep. Sheehy.
The proposed legislation would establish state standards for acceptable and dangerous levels of microcystin in Ohio’s drinking water. The legislation would also require the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop procedures for testing the toxin.
“Access to clean water is a right that all Ohioans should have,” said Rep. Patterson. “The legislature has been moving slower than we’d hoped when it comes to limiting the proliferation of harmful algal blooms. In the meantime, we must ensure that the public is informed as quickly as possible should their drinking water be compromised again.”
The bill also requires that a public water system’s operator immediately notify the local board of health should water within the system contain a certain level of microcystin. The board’s director would then take steps to alert the general public of the impacted area.
“Although this legislation is a safeguard for monitoring microcystin in public water systems, rather than preventing it from entering the water, it is a much needed first step,” continued Rep. Sheehy.