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ORSANCO Approves More Mercury in the Ohio River to 2015

ORSANCO Approves More Mercury in the Ohio River to 2015

In September, the Knob and Valley Audubon Society, along with multiple other individuals and organizations, submitted comments to the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) requesting that a proposed revision be denied to extend until 2015 the enforcement of a moratorium on mixing zones for bio-accumulative chemicals of concern in the Pollution Control Standards for the Ohio River. Mixing zones are regions where water quality criteria are permitted to exceed human and wildlife health standards; and utilize the water body for dilution.

The primary pollutant of concern is mercury emissions. ORSANCO’s own sampling has demonstrated violations of mercury levels in both the water column and fish tissue in multiple locations over many years. Mercury bio-accumulates up the food chain and is directly associated with cognitive and reproductive failure in aquatic based species, including fish, mollusks, reptiles, and birds, consistently exposed to the toxin. Every state bordering the Ohio River issues annual fish consumption advisories warning the public, specifically children and women of child bearing age, about the risks to health associated with consuming Ohio River fish due to elevated mercury levels. ORSANCO’s response to public comments received can be found at www.orsanco.org/pcs.