5B2
\   Office of Inspector General
^   Audit Report
                  WATER
         Ohio's Water Quality Program
               Report No. 99P00210
                 June 30,1999

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Inspector General Division
 Conducting the Review:                 Northern Audit Division

Region Covered:                        Region 5

Program Office Involved:                 Water Division

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                 UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
                           OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
                                  NORTHERN DIVISION
                             11 WEST JACKSON BOULEVARD
                                 CHICAGO, IL 60604-3590
                                     June 30, 1999

 MEMORANDUM

 SUBJECT:    Report No. 99P00210
              Ohio's Water Quality Program
   _
 TO:          Francis X. Lyons
              Regional Administrator
              Region 5

 Attached is the report on our review of Ohio's Water Quality Program including Region 5
 oversight. The audit was conducted as part of a nationwide review of States' water quality
 programs. The overall purpose was to determine whether Ohio's program met the principal
 goals of the Clean Water Act.

 This report contains issues that describe problems the Office of Inspector General (OIG) has
 identified and corrective actions Region 5 has implemented. The audit report represents the
 opinion of the OIG. Final determinations on matters in this audit report will be made by EPA
 managers in accordance with established EPA audit resolution procedures.

 ACTION REQUIRED

 In responding to our April 30,  1999 position papers Region 5 provided corrective actions already
 initiated for the issues identified in the report. Therefore, no further response is required, and we
 are closing the report in our tracking system.  Please track all planned corrective actions in the
 Management Audit Tracking System. We have no objection to further release of this report to
 the public.

 We appreciate the cooperation and assistance  Region 5 and the Ohio Environmental Protection
 Agency provided during our audit. If you have any questions, please call Leah Nikaidoh, Audit
 Manager, at (513) 487-2365.

 Attachment

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                                                           Review of Ohio Water Quality
                          EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
PURPOSE
OBJECTIVES
RESULTS IN BRIEF
This audit is one in a series of state water quality audits being
conducted by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to develop a
national picture of the performance of state water quality programs.
Ohio was selected as one of the states for audit because the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes Ohio as a
national leader in the development and use of biological criteria in
its water quality program.
                           Our overall objective was to determine whether the Ohio
                           Environmental Protection Agency's (OEPA) water quality
                           program effectively protected its surface waters to sustain human
                           health and aquatic life, and provided for both recreational and
                           economic activities. Our specific objectives were to answer the
                           following questions:

                                 Has OEPA implemented procedures to develop water
                                 quality standards that will protect the Ohio's water quality?

                                 Has OEPA implemented procedures to test and assess the
                                 quality of all appropriate waters Ohio?

                                 Are OEPA's reports on water quality complete, accurate,
                                 and useful for program management?

                                 Has Region 5 implemented effective procedures to approve
                                 Ohio water quality standards and evaluate OEPA's water
                                 quality standards setting, testing, assessing, and reporting?
                           OEPA developed water quality standards which will protect its
                           surface waters to sustain human health and aquatic life, and
                           provide for recreational and economic activities. Ohio is one of
                           only two States that include numeric biological criteria in its water
                           quality standards. The inclusion of biological criteria into Ohio's
                           water quality program has resulted in OEPA gaining recognition as
                           the national leader in the development and use of biological
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     	Review of Ohio Water Quality

                          criteria.  We found one significant water quality standard that
                          OEPA needed to update.  OEPA was not using the most current
                          EPA recommended criteria to protect recreational uses of its water
                          bodies.

                          OEPA also implemented adequate procedures to test and assess the
                          quality of its waters.  The use of biological surveys makes OEPA's
                          assessments more accurate than other States'. Biological surveys
                          are valuable to a water quality program because they can often
                          detect effects of pollutants that otherwise would not be identified
                          with chemical tests alone.  For example, OEPA found in 1995 that
                          50 percent of Ohio water bodies assessed with chemical tests alone
                          and identified as not impaired, were actually impaired after
                          biological surveys were conducted.

                          OEPA's water quality reports were complete, accurate, and useful
                          for program management.

                          Region 5 generally implemented effective procedures to approve
                          Ohio water quality standards and evaluate the OEPA's water
                          quality standards setting, testing, assessing, and reporting, with oni
                          exception. Region 5  should have required OEPA to submit a
                          Quality Management Plan that the Region needed to evaluate
                          OEPA's monitoring plan.

REGION^OMMENTS"
AND (DUG EVALUATION  Region 5 agreed that OEPA needs to use the most current EPA
                          recommended criteria to measure pathogens in its recreational
                          surface waters. Region 5  initiated discussions with OEPA to
                          ensure that OEPA uses the more detective E. coli and Enterococci
                          criteria when assessing Ohio's recreational surface waters.

                          Region 5 also agreed that OEPA needs to submit a Quality
                          Management Plan and stated that corrective actions have already
                          been implemented. In May 1999, OEPA submitted a draft Quality
                          Management Plan to the Region, and is expected to submit a final
                          Quality Management Plan this summer.
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                                   Review of Ohio Water Quality
The corrective actions initiated by Region 5 initiated, along with
OEPA's follow-up actions, when completed, will adequately
address the issues identified in this report.
                in
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     	Review of Ohio Water Quality

                              Table of Contents

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY	i

ABBREVIATIONS  	vi

1     OEPA DEVELOPED ADEQUATE WATER QUALITY STANDARDS	1
            Has OEPA implemented procedures to develop water quality standards
                   that will protect Ohio's water quality?	1
            OEPA Leads The Way In Biological Criteria Program	1
            OEPA Developed and Adopted Criteria Where EPA Has Not	2
            EPA Recommended Criteria Not Used      	2
            Conclusion	3
            Agency Comments and Actions	3
            OIG Evaluation  	3

2     OEPA Implemented Effective Monitoring Procedures	4
            Has OEPA implemented procedures to test and assess the quality
                   of all waters in Ohio?	4
            OEPA Uses Advanced Monitoring Techniques	4g
            OEPA Implemented an Adequate Monitoring Strategy  	j|

3     OEPA's Reports Were Complete, Accurate, and Useful	7
            Are OEPA's water quality reports complete, accurate, and useful for
                   program management?  	7
            OEPA'S Water Quality Reports are a Useful Management Tool 	7

4     Region 5 Generally Provided Adequate Oversight
       of Ohio's Water Quality Program	9
            Has Region 5 implemented effective procedures to approve Ohio water quality
                   standards and evaluate OEPA's water quality standards setting, testing,
                   assessing, and reporting?  	9
            Region 5 Actively Participates in OEPA's Standards Program	9
            Region 5 Did Not Require OEPA to Submit Quality Management Plans	9
            Conclusion	10
            Agency Comments and Actions	11
            OIG Evaluation  	11
                                       IV
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                                                       Review of Ohio Water Quality
EXHIBIT




      Background	12




APPENDICES




1     Region 5 Response to Draft Conclusions 	17




2     Distribution  	18
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                                                        Review of Ohio Water- Quali
                                Abbreviations

CFR         Code of Federal Regulations

NPDE.S      National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System

OEPA        Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

OIG         Office of Inspector General

TMDL       Total Maximum Daily Loads
                                        VI
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                                                          Review of Ohio Water Quality
                                  CHAPTER 1
         OEPA Developed Adequate Water Quality Standards
Has OEPA implemented
procedures to develop
water quality standards
that will protect Ohio's
water quality?
OEPA Leads The Way
In Biological Criteria
Program
Yes-OEPA developed adequate water quality standards.  OEPA
has one of the most extensive biological criteria programs in the
country and is one of only two states that has adopted numeric
biological criteria into its water quality standards. Because OEPA
was the first state to do so, EPA recognizes OEPA as the leader
among States in developing and using such criteria.  OEPA also
had chemical criteria for all applicable Clean Water Act priority
pollutants.

There was one significant water quality standard that OEPA needs
to update. OEPA is not using the most current EPA recommended
criteria to protect recreational uses of its surface water bodies.

Ohio has about 60,000 lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, and also has
more than 3,300 named streams extending 44,000 miles in length.
Since 1980 OEPA has been proactive in developing biological
criteria in the absence of Federal biological standards.  As a result,
EPA recognizes OEPA as the leader among states in developing
and using biological criteria. Using biological criteria expands and
improves water quality standards, helps identify impairment of
uses, and helps set program priorities. A primary strength of
biological criteria is the detection of water quality problems that
other methods may miss or underestimate. For example, in 1995,
OEPA found that 50 percent of Ohio water bodies assessed with
chemical tests alone and identified as not impaired were actually
impaired after biological surveys were conducted.

Although nearly all states have adopted narrative biological criteria
in their water quality standards, OEPA is one of only two that has
adopted numeric biological criteria. OEPA adopted numeric
biological criteria into its water quality standards in February 1990.
Numeric biological criteria include discrete quantitative values that
summarize the status of the biological community and describe the
expected condition of the system for different designated water
resource uses. Numeric criteria are better than narrative criteria
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                                                              Review of Ohio Water. Quality
OEPA Developed and
Adopted Criteria
Where EPA Has Not
EPA Recommended
Criteria Not Used
because of the specificity with which impairments can be
identified.

OEPA has a well-developed water quality standards program.
OEPA had criteria for all the priority pollutants listed in Clean
Water Act section 307(a) for which EPA had criteria-that is, 115
(91 percent) of 126 priority pollutants. Of the remaining 11
priority pollutants for which OEPA did not have criteria, there was
no associated Federal criteria either.  OEPA developed and adopted
water quality criteria for more than 170 total pollutants, including
55 non-priority pollutants.

OEPA did not use the most current EPA recommended criteria for
identifying bacteria in Ohio's recreational water bodies. In 1986,
EPA published its Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Bacteria,
which approved E. coli and Enterococci as bacteriological
indicators of harmful pathogens. EPA stated that these indicators
provide a better correlation between swimming and gastrointestinal
illness than the previous criteria recommended for fecal coliform
bacteria.  EPA also recommended that states begin the transition
process to the new indicators.

Elevated bacteria levels can be hazardous to people using water for
recreational activities, such as swimming or water skiing.  Bacteria
can cause illnesses including sore throats, ear infections, diarrhea,
gastroenteritis, meningitis, and encephalitis. The Clean Water Act
requires EPA to develop and publish criteria for assessing water
quality based on the latest scientific knowledge. States may adopt
either this criteria, or criteria that is at least as protective as EPA's.
If a state does not adopt such criteria, the Clean Water Act requires
EPA to promulgate the Federal criteria for the state.

OEPA adopted the new criteria into its water quality standards in
May 1990, but as of 1998 had never used the criteria to identify.
bacteria in Ohio's recreational water bodies.  Region 5 accepted
OEPA's  use of fecal  coliform-a less detective criteria-to assess the
quality of Ohio's water bodies.  As a result, water bodies with
harmful contamination may have gone undetected and unreported,
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                                                               Review of Ohio Water Quality
CONCLUSION
AGENCY COMMENTS
AND ACTIONS
OIG EVALUATION
                            and the public may have been unknowingly exposed to harmful
                            bacteria.1
                            OEPA has a well-developed water quality standards program. In
                            addition to having good chemical criteria in place, OEPA has one
                            of the most extensive biological criteria programs in the country.
                            Integrating biological criteria with traditional chemical criteria and
                            whole effluent toxicity tests complements the relative strengths and
                            weaknesses of each approach and provides for a more accurate
                            measure of water quality.

                            Although OEPA's water quality standards are consistent with EPA
                            requirements, OEPA is not using the most current EPA
                            recommended criteria, which uses E. coli and Enterococci, to
                            measure pathogens in its recreational surface waters.  OEPA
                            should use the most current criteria to ensure that it does not miss
                            an opportunity to best protect people against elevated bacteria
                            levels and associated illnesses.
Region 5 agreed that OEPA needs to use the most current EPA
recommended criteria to measure pathogens in its recreational
surface waters. Region 5 initiated discussions with OEPA to
ensure that OEPA uses the more detective E. coli and Enterococci
criteria when assessing Ohio's recreational surface waters.
                            The corrective actions Region 5 initiated, along with OEPA's
                            follow-up actions, when completed, will adequately address the
                            issue identified.
       'Based on an audit of EPA Region Ill's water quality standards, dated March 31, 1999, the OIG
recommended Region III take actions to correct deficiencies if States do not amend their water quality standards to
include the Agency's 1996 Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Bacteria. The Agency agreed with the OIG and
stated that they will be conducting a review and analysis to verify the scientific soundness of the 1986 criteria, and
initiate a Federal promulgation to impose the 1986 E.coli and /or enterococci criteria in addition to, or in place of,
outdated fecal coliform criteria.  Region III also stated that EPA is committed to promulgating E. Coli and
enterococci into 40 CFR Part 136 prior to any Federal promulgation for a State.
                                             3
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                                                           Review of Ohio Water Quality
                                   CHAPTER 2
         OEPA Implemented Effective Monitoring Procedures
Has OEPA implemented
proce dures to test and
assess the quality of all
waters in Ohio?
OEPA Uses Advanced
Monitoring Techniques
Yes-The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA)
implemented procedures to test and assess the quality of all waters
in Ohio.

The combined use of biological surveys and chemical testing made
OEPA's assessments more accurate than other states'. Biological
surveys are valuable to a water quality program because the
surveys can often detect effects of pollutants that otherwise would
not be identified with chemical and toxicity tests alone. Strong
state monitoring programs enable states to better target water
bodies for cleanup, protect areas that already meet water quality
standards, and schedule assessment of waters of unknown quality.
Such programs also help EPA evaluate  whether true environmental
results have been achieved.

We found that OEPA was not meeting the time frames established
in its monitoring strategy. However, OEPA management
acknowledged the problem and implemented procedures to lessen
the impact on its monitoring program.

According to OEPA, in 1995, 50 percent of Ohio's rivers  and
streams assessed with chemical tests alone and identified as not
impaired, were actually impaired after biological surveys were
conducted.  Data collected in biological surveys are important
because of their use in directly assessing and identifying water
bodies that are in need of special protection based on their
biological integrity.

In addition to being a valuable tool to measure the biological
integrity of a water body, biological surveys are also  a key
component in the objectives of the Clean Water Act.  The Clean
Water Act, Section 101, states that the Act's primary objective  is to
"restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological
integrity of the nation's waters." Biological surveys provide the
essential third element for water quality management.
Incorporating biological surveys into a  fully integrated program
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                                  Review of Ohio Water Quality
directly protects the biological integrity of surface waters and
provides indirect protection for chemical and physical integrity.

Biological surveys involve the collecting of fish and
macroinvertebrates (insects, crustaceans, snails and worms),
computing various indices, and comparing the results to least
impacted reference sites. The fish and macroinvertebrates
collected for biological surveys inhabit the water body year-round
and cannot escape the effects of water pollution. Therefore, these
organisms serve as environmental monitors and can be studied to
determine the long-term effects of municipal and industrial
discharge, spills, habitat degradation, sedimentation and runoff
from farm fields, streets, highways and yards. In contrast,
chemical testing only shows the short-term conditions that exist at
the time the sample is taken.  Chemical testing assesses the
suitability of the water body to support a healthy community, but it
does not directly assess the community itself.

Although the use of biological surveys in OEPA's water quality
program has increased the accuracy of OEPA's water monitoring
process, the biological surveys do have limitations.  Biological
surveys can help determine what has happened in a water body, but
cannot predict what will happen. Therefore, biological monitoring,
when used in coordination with traditional chemical and toxicity
testing, complements the relative strengths and weaknesses of each
approach and provides for a more accurate measure of water
quality. Biological data are a good measure of what has happened
in a water body, whereas chemical and toxicity data are a better
measure of what could happen in a water body.

OEPA's monitoring strategy  is based on a five-year cycle;
however, according to OEPA officials, they complete the cycle
about every 10 years. OEPA acknowledged that it is not meeting
the time frames of its monitoring strategy and are working on ways
to reduce monitoring  cycles to meet the five-year goal. OEPA
officials stated that the main reason for the delay is  resource
limitations.

To lessen the impact of not meeting the five year cycle, OEPA
encourages and pursues feedback from internal and external parties
OEPA Implemented an
Adequate Monitoring
Strategy
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                                   Review of Ohio Water Quality
when creating its yearly Test Plan. OEPA creates its yearly Test
Plan to include the needs of all interested parties.  OEPA considers
not only waterbodies within the designated basin scheduled for
review, but also specific requests from OEPA field offices, other
state agencies, and the general public. Including these groups in
the Test Plan process provides OEPA with assurance that, although
it is not testing and assessing all water bodies in a particular basin
once every five years, interested parties needs and concerns
regarding Ohio's water quality monitoring are addressed.
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                                                         Review of Ohio Water Quality
                                 CHAPTER 3
        OEPA's Reports Were Complete, Accurate, and Useful

Are OEPA's water quality Yes-The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's (OEPA) water
reports complete,
accurate, and useful for
program management?
OEPA'S Water Quality
Reports are a Useful
Management Tool
quality reports were complete, accurate, and useful for program
management. OEPA's 1996 Water Resource Inventory Report
[305(b) report] and 303 (d) List of Impaired Water Bodies were
prepared in compliance with EPA guidelines, and were complete,
accurate, and useful to OEPA and Region 5 program managers.
OEPA's reports were based on scientific data reviewed for quality
control and maintained in OEPA databases.

Region 5 personnel verified that OEPA's 1996 305(b) and 303(d)
reports contained all required information and that the reports
were useful for program management (see exhibit 1, page 12, for
more detail about these reports). The Clean Water Act requires
OEPA to submit a 305(b) and 303(d) report every two years. The
305(b) reporting process is the principal means by which EPA,
Congress, and the public evaluate whether U.S. waters meet water
quality standards, the progress made in maintaining and restoring
water quality, and the extent of remaining problems.

OEPA and Region 5 use the information presented in the 305(b)
and 303(d) reports for programmatic direction. Programmatic uses
for the 305(b) and 303(d) reports include: (1) reviewing and
revising permits; (2) targeting geographical areas of concern for
enforcement actions; (3) evaluating specific impacts from various
pollution categories; (4) being an information tool for the Congress
and the public; (5) scheduling water bodies for the development of
Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL); and, (6) being a general
research tool.

OEPA gathers data and documents test results according to
detailed quality assurance/quality control manuals.  OEPA
personnel review all data for accuracy and completeness, and enter
the data into OEPA  databases. OEPA also enters some of its data
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                                                               Review of Ohio Water Quality
                            into EPA databases-such as ACQUIRE, STORET, and IRIS.2
                            OEPA's water quality reports are generated from its own databases
                            which OEPA believes are more reliable than EPA's.
       2ACQUIRE stands for the Aquatic Information Retrieval system and is maintained by EPA's Office of
Water. STORET stands for Storage and Retrieval of Water-Related Data and is also an Office of Water database.
IR.S-the Integrated Risk Information System-is maintained by EPA's Office of Research and Development.


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                                                           Review of Ohio Water Quality
                                  CHAPTER 4
            Region 5 Generally Provided Adequate Oversight
                     of Ohio's Water Quality Program
Has Region 5
implemented effective
procedures to approve
Ohio water quality
standards and evaluate
OEPA's water quality
standards setting,
testing, assessing, and
reporting?

Region 5 Actively
Participates in OEPA's
Standards Program
Region 5 Did Not
Require OEPA to
Submit Quality
Management Plans
Yes-Region 5 generally implemented effective procedures to
approve Ohio water quality standards and evaluate the State's
water quality standards setting, testing, assessing, and reporting.
Region 5 did not, however, require OEPA to submit Quality
Management Plans that the Region needed to evaluate OEPA's
monitoring strategy.
Region 5 has effective procedures to approve and evaluate Ohio's
water quality standards, and placed a high priority on the oversight
of state water quality standards development. Region 5 routinely
communicates with OEPA personnel to discuss problems and
answer questions State officials have while developing water
quality criteria. These communications identify problems at an
early stage and make the EPA approval process much quicker with
fewer complications. Region 5 also holds monthly conference
calls with the Region 5 states and, at times, Headquarters personnel
to discuss pertinent issues. The conference calls  typically include
discussions relating to new criteria development, problems
encountered, successful programs, EPA Headquarters news, etc.
Cooperation between Region 5 and OEPA throughout the water
quality standards setting process has resulted in a good working
relationship and a good overall water quality  standards program.

Region 5 did not require OEPA to submit Quality Management
Plans that the Region needed to evaluate OEPA's monitoring
strategy.  Quality Management Plans represent the states'
intentions for conducting yearly monitoring programs and other
specific testing that will be conducted throughout the year.
According to 40 CFR 130.4, states are required to establish
appropriate testing techniques to monitor water quality. Without
the Quality Management Plans, the Region could not evaluate
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                                                            Review of Ohio Water Qualit
                           OEPA's monitoring strategy and determine if OEPA was meeting
                           the requirements of the Clean Water Act.

                           In a memorandum to OEPA, dated May 29, 1996, Region 5 noted
                           that OEPA's Quality Assurance Program Plan3 did not contain all
                           the detailed information Region 5 needed for a comprehensive
                           review of OEPA's quality assurance program.  The memorandum
                           stated that OEPA's plans did not include descriptions of specific
                           tasks, sites, and special needs for planning purposes. Region 5
                           informed OEPA that the 1996 Quality Assurance Program Plan
                           would be approved on the condition that the future plans include
                           the detailed information.

                           Region 5's goal is to have OEPA comply with the national
                           consensus standard, ANSI/ASQC E4-19944, "Specifications and
                           Guidelines for Environmental Data Collection and Environmental
                           Technology programs". The guidelines define the management
                           and technical elements necessary to develop and implement a
                           quality assurance system for an organization's environmental
                           programs. EPA refers to quality assurance plans prepared using
                           these guidelines as Quality Management Plans. In October 1998,
                           EPA distributed the final draft of the "EPA Requirements for
                           Quality Management Plans" (QA/R-2).  This document formally
                           defined EPA's requirements for Quality Management Plans and
                           stated that it is based on the national consensus standard,
                           ANSI/ASQC E4-1994.
CONCLUSION
                           Region 5 generally provided adequate oversight of OEPA's water
                           quality program. Region 5 maintained open lines of
                           communication with OEPA which helped identify and resolve
                           issues timely.
       In 1996, Quality Management Plans were called Quality Assurance Program Plans.

       4ANSI/ASQC stands for the American National Standards Institute / American Society of Quality Control.
The ANSI's primary function is to facilitate the development of national standards. The group was founded in 1918
by five engineering societies and three government agencies. The institute remains a private, nonprofit organization
supported by private and public sector organizations.

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                                                          Review of Ohio Water Quality
                          Although Region 5 implemented effective procedures to approve
                          Ohio water quality standards, Region 5 should have required
                          OEPA to submit Quality Management Plans needed to evaluate
                          OEPA's monitoring strategy. Quality Management Plans are a
                          principal means by which the Region evaluates OEPA's
                          monitoring strategy. Without these plans, Region 5 cannot
                          determine if OEPA's monitoring strategy is sufficient to meet the
                          requirements of the Clean Water Act.
AGENCY COMMENTS
AND ACTIONS
OIG EVALUATION
Region 5 agreed that OEPA needs to submit a Quality
Management Plan and stated that corrective actions have already
been implemented.  In May 1999, OEPA submitted a draft Quality
Management Plan to the Region, and is expected to submit a final
Quality Management Plan this summer.
                          The corrective actions Region 5 initiated, along with OEPA's
                          follow-up actions, when completed, will adequately address the
                          issue identified.
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                                                           Review of Ohio Water Quali
                                   Background
                                                                             Exhibit 1
                                                                            Page 1 of 5
PURPOSE
BACKGROUND
This audit was conducted as a portion of the Office of Inspector
General's (OIG) Water Quality Issue Area Plan, dated September
1997. We reviewed the State of Ohio's water quality program
primarily because EPA recognizes Ohio as the national leader in
the development and use of biological criteria to assess water
bodies. Strong state monitoring programs enable states to better
target water bodies for cleanup, protect areas that already meet
water quality standards, and schedule assessment of waters of
unknown quality. Such programs also help EPA evaluate whether
true environmental results have been achieved.

The objectives of this audit were to determine if:

      Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) had
       implemented procedures to develop water quality standards
       that will protect Ohio's water quality.
      OEPA had implemented procedures to test and assess the
       quality of all waters in Ohio.
       OEPA's water quality reports were complete, accurate, and
       useful  for program management.
      EPA Region 5 had implemented effective procedures to
       approve Ohio water quality standards and evaluate OEPA's
       water quality standards setting, testing, assessing, and
       reporting.
                          Ohio has about 60,000 lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, and also has
                          more than 3,300 named streams extending 44,000 miles in length.
                          To protect these water bodies for the future, the Ohio
                          Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) has developed water
                          quality standards.  These standards are monitored, enforced, and
                          updated according to new technologies and developments. Ohio's
                          water quality standards are contained in the Ohio Administrative
                          Code Chapter 3745-1.  In accordance with the Clean Water Act,
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                                   Review of Ohio Water Quality
                                                      Exhibit 1
                                                    Page 2 of 5

the standards must be reviewed and revised, as necessary, at least
once every three years.

The water quality standards have three main parts: (1) designated
uses; (2) narrative and numeric criteria designed to attain and
maintain the quality of water needed to support the designated
uses; and, (3) an antidegradation policy, designed to protect the
existing water quality.

There are four types of use designations in Ohio: aquatic life
habitat, water supply, recreation, and state resource waters.
Generally, all water bodies of any significant size have been
assigned at least one designated use.

Narrative criteria require that all of Ohio's surface waters be free
from suspended solids, floating debris, oil, scum, and other
materials. Numeric criteria consist of chemical criteria, whole
effluent toxicity, and biological criteria.

Water quality standards ensure that our water resources will be
maintained for future generations by restricting the degradation of
the current water quality in the state. Antidegradation policies, as
part of the standards, are designed to ensure that assigned uses for
water bodies are protected and maintained.

Title 40 Code Federal Regulation (CFR) 130.4, Water Quality
Monitoring, requires states to establish appropriate testing
techniques to monitor water quality. The monitoring information
is used to  support activities to abate and control pollution, develop
water quality standards, and report water quality information to the
public.  The regulations further require states to collect and analyze
data to ensure the physical, chemical, and biological  data, and
quality assurance and control programs are scientifically  valid.

OEPA's Surface Water Division conducts field studies and water
quality tests to determine current water quality conditions
throughout the state.  OEPA's biological water quality survey

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                                                            Review of Ohio Water Qualit
                                                                              Exhibit 1
                                                                             Page 3 of 5

                           program includes the sampling of fish and invertebrate species in
                           Ohio's streams.  Biological monitoring, when used in combination
                           with chemical tests, is a better measure of water quality. Fish,
                           insects, snails, worms, etc., serve as environmental monitors and
                           are studied to determine the long-term effects of municipal and
                           industrial effluents, spills, habitat degradation, and runoff.  OEPA
                           also monitors physical impairments to habitat, and conducts
                           chemical monitoring.

                           OEPA submits a Water Resource Inventory Report [305(b)
                           Report], and a 303(d) List of Impaired Water Bodies-which are
                           required by the Clean Water Act-to EPA every two years.  EPA is
                           responsible for compiling data from all states' 305(b) Reports,
                           summarizing them, and transmitting the summaries to Congress
                           along with an analysis of the status of water quality nationwide.
                           The 303(d) List of Impaired Water Bodies, a report derived from
                           the 305(b) Report, is used to schedule water bodies for the
                           development of total maximum daily  loads (TMDL). A TMDL is
                           the total maximum daily amount of a  pollutant that can be
                           discharged and properly absorbed without an environmental effect
                           to a receiving body of water.  The 303(d) list is also required under
                           40 CFR 130.7, TMDLs, which requires states to identify all
                           impaired water bodies where existing pollution control
                           requirements are not stringent enough to achieve the water quality
                           standard.

                           The 305(b) reporting process is the principal means by which EPA,
                           Congress, and the public evaluate whether U.S. waters meet water
                           quality standards, the progress made in maintaining and restoring
                           water quality, and the extent of remaining problems.
METHODOLOGY         We reviewed OEPA's water quality monitoring program activities
                           from 1994 through 1997, concentrating on the 1996 Water Quality
                           Assessment Reports.  These were the most recent reports available.
                           Water quality reporting is on a 2-year cycle, and water quality
                                          14
                                                                      Report No. 99P00210

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                                  Review of Ohio Water Quality
                                                   Exhibit 1
                                                  Page 4 of 5

standards setting is on a 3-year cycle.  By reviewing activities from
1994-1997, we were able to review both the most recent Water
Quality Assessment Report and the latest update of Ohio's water
quality standards. For more scientifically technical water quality
issues, we obtained assistance from the OIG's Engineering and
Science Staff. This assistance included: (1) a comparison of
Ohio's water quality criteria to EPA's criteria, (2) an analysis of
some monitoring data, and (3) a review of Ohio's antidegradation
policy and implementation plan.

We reviewed OEPA's implementation of Clean Water Act
requirements to establish surface water quality standards, and
monitor and report on surface water quality.  We did not review
activities related to groundwater, state revolving funds, drinking
water, or National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
(NPDES) permitting, except as related to water quality standards
and monitoring.

We conducted audit work at OEPA's Surface Water Division in
Columbus, OH. We also joined OEPA staff during a site visit, in
July 1998, to the Little Darby Creek, near Columbus, OH. During
this site visit, we watched as OEPA staff collected a sample offish,
via electrofishing, to assess the aquatic health of that stream
segment. We also conducted work in Chicago with Region 5
officials.

We reviewed OEPA and Region 5 records, policies, and
procedures concerning water quality standards setting, water
quality testing, assessing, and reporting. We also reviewed the
following documents: OEPA's data quality assurance plan;
State/EPA agreements, workplans; Ohio's 1996 305(b) and 303(d)
reports; and, Region 5's management agreement for fiscal 1998-
1999 with the Office of Water.

We performed our audit in accordance with the 1994 Government
Auditing Standards issued by the Comptroller General.  We
conducted fieldwork from July 1998 to March 1999.

                15
                                            Report No. 99P00210

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                                                            Review of Ohio Water
Quality

chibitl
                                                                              Exhibit
                                                                             Page 5 of 5
PRIOR AUDITS
                           The OIG completed similar audits in Region III, Oregon,
                           Colorado, and Missouri.  The OIG issued a report entitled, "Region
                           III Water Quality Standards, Monitoring, and Reporting," on
                           March 31,1999.  The OIG found that states in the Region
                           generally did not use the proper criteria to protect against bacteria
                           in water. Several states also did not have adequate water quality
                           standards for chemicals to protect water bodies.

                           The OIG issued the Oregon report, entitled, "Oregon's Water
                           Quality Program," on March 31, 1999. The OIG reported that
                           generally Oregon's water quality program, including its water
                           quality standards and monitoring, met the goals of the Clean Water
                           Act.

                           The OIG issued the Colorado report, entitled, "Colorado Water
                           Quality Standards, Monitoring, and Reporting Program," on March
                           10, 1999 (Report No. 9100093). In this report, the OIG found th^
                           Colorado needs to improve its procedures to adopt and support its
                           water quality standards. The OIG also found that Colorado's water
                           quality reports varied in completeness and accuracy.

                           The Missouri report, entitled, "Missouri's Water Quality Standards
                           and Monitoring," was issued on March 31, 1998 (Report No.
                           8100080). In this report, the OIG found that Missouri did not
                           adopt the swimmable use classification for all waters or conduct
                           the required studies showing the use could not be achieved. The
                           OIG also found that many of Missouri's water quality standards
                           were less restrictive than those required by the Clean Water Act
                           and that controls were not in place to ensure the State's water
                           quality reports were complete and accurate.
                                          16
                                                                      Report No.

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                                                              Review of Ohio Water Quality
                                                                                Appendix 1
                                                                                 Page 1 of 1
                  UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
                                       REGIONS
                             77 WEST JACKSON BOULEVARD
                                 CHICAGO, IL 60604-3590
                                               REPLY TO THE ATTENTION OF
                                                                       WT-15J

MEMORANDUM

DATE:    MAY 27 1999

SUBJECT:  Comments on Ohio Audit

FROM:    JoLynn Traub
           Directory, Water Division

TO:        Tony Carrollo, OIG

Thank you for the opportunity to review the draft conclusions of the audit of Ohio's water quality
standards program. Region 5 agrees with the conclusions, specifically, Ohio's criteria for
bacteriological contamination to protect recreational uses should be updated to reflect the current
recommendations of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), and the Ohio
Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) should submit a Quality Management Plan (QMP).
In response to the findings of the audit, Region 5 took the following steps to correct the problems
identified. Region 5 initiated discussions with., Ohio EPA to update Ohio's bacteriological
criteria in its next water quality standards review. Ohio EPA is in the process of scheduling
priority activities and should be able to provide a date by when work will be begun by the end of
July.  With respect to the QMP, Ohio has recently submitted a draft QMP to the Region, and is
expected to submit a final QMP this summer.

If you have any questions, please contact me, or have your staff contact David Pfeifer of my staff.
Mr Pfeifer may be reached at (312) 353-9024.

cc: Ms. Leah Nikaidoh, Audit Manager
   Mr. Greg Luebbering, OIG
            Recycled/Recyclable  Printed with Vegetable Oil Based Inks on 50% Recycled Paper (20% Postconsumer)
          Note: The original response was signed by Mary P. Tyson for JoLynn Traub.
                                          17
                                                                          Report No. 99P00210

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                                                            Review of Ohio Watejr Quali
jualitv

sndix^
                                                                           Appendix
                                                                            Page 1 of 1
                                    Distribution
Region 5
Regional Administrator (R-19J)
Audit Followup Coordinator (MFA-10J)
Senior Leadership Team
Public Affairs (P-19J)
Intergovernmental Relations Officer (R-19J)
L:.brary(PL-12J)

Headquarters

Assistant Administrator for Water (4101)
Associate Administrator for Congressional and Legislative Affairs (1301)
Associate Administrator for Regional Operations and State/Local Relations (1501)
Associate Administrator for Communications, Education, and Public Affairs (1701)
Agency Followup Official (2710)
  Attn: Assistant Administrator
Agency Followup Coordinator (3304)
  Attn: Director, RMD
Headquarters Library (3404)

Office of Inspector General

Inspector General (2410)
Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Internal Audits (2421)
HQ Audit Liaison (2421)
GAO - Issue Area Planner

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

Director,  Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
Director,  Surface Water Division
                                          18
                                                                     Report No. 99P002ITT'

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