Columbus Lawmakers Propose Law Change To Protect Ohio's Drinking Water
Little-known law change from last state budget threatens Hoover Reservoir buffer zones
Posted February 06, 2017 by Minority Caucus

State Reps. David Leland (D-Columbus) and Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) last week introduced legislation to keep Ohio’s drinking water clean and safe by preventing the destruction of natural buffer zones around drinking-water reservoirs, like the Hoover Reservoir in Franklin County.

“The Hoover Reservoir is a vital source of public water for Columbus, and the strip of land encircling Hoover and other reservoirs acts as a natural filter that removes contaminants that would threaten our water supply,” said Leland. “This provision, which was inserted into the previous state budget at the last minute without public input or participation, is a potential threat to the health and safety of all Franklin County residents.”

In Franklin County alone, over a million people rely on the Griggs, O’Shaughnessy and Hoover Reservoirs to supply safe and clean drinking water daily. This legislation will repeal a provision surreptitiously included in the state’s last biennial budget that allowed residents to significantly alter those zones by reducing the natural barriers that slow storm-water runoff and filter out fertilizers, exacerbating algae problems already occurring in the state.

“It is simply bad policy to give a select few people the power to alter public landscape in a way that could negatively impact everyone's water supply,” Boggs said. “This legislation will help protect Franklin County's water quality and the health of all our residents.”

The cities of Columbus, Westerville, Akron, Barberton and Lima previously sued to overturn the hastily passed state law in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court and temporarily blocked its implementation. 

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