Julie Letterhos
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
                       March 12, 2010
Lake Erie Pollution History
 Causes have varied over the years
   Sediment
   Raw sewage/disease
   Overfishing
   Chemica...
Sources
 Land Use
 Discharges
 Exploitation of the resource
 Introduction of Invasive Species
Lake Erie Cross Section




4
Nutrients
 Phosphorus identified as the limiting nutrient
 Lake Erie Wastewater Management Study (LEWMS)
 Pollution from L...
Phosphorus Bioavailability
 Total Phosphorus varies with source

 Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus
   ~100% bioavailable

 Pa...
Point vs. Nonpoint Source
 Typically, TP from point sources 85% DRP and is
 considered to be 100% bioavailable

 TP from n...
Decreases in Phosphorus Loads
Lake Erie
Algal Bloom
Blue-green
algal blooms,
once common
in the 1960s,
began to return
in the mid-
1990s.
Cladophora
Lyngbya wollei
Benthic mats become buoyant and float to surface




                                         T. Fisher
A Comparison…
1960 - 1970s              1990s – Today
 Cladophora                Cladophora
 Blue-green algae          Blu...
Maumee River, Flow Weighted Mean
                      Concentration, Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus

                     ...
Maumee River, Annual Loading,
                                 Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus, 1975-2008

                 ...
Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force Members
  State program personnel from OEPA, ODNR and ODA
  Academia/Researchers
  Ag...
Task Force Goals (Ohio Focus)
 Identify and evaluate all potential sources
 Identify changes since 1995
 Examine aspects o...
P Task Force Approach
 Identify all possible sources of DRP
 Quantify what we can with existing data sources
 Consult with...
List of Possible Sources
 Point sources
    Wastewater treatment plants, Industrial, CSOs, HSTS
 Agriculture
 Urban/reside...
Point Sources
 Wastewater Treatment Plants (585 MTA)
 Bypasses and Combined Sewer Overflows (90 MTA)
 Industry (32 MTA)
 H...
Point Source Loading to Lake Erie
                                            Direct PS     Indirect PS        Combined Di...
Point Source Findings and
Recommendations
 Although the load is significant and almost all
 bioavailable, it is not the so...
Public Water Supplies
Orthophosphate
 Many Public Water Supplies began to add
 orthophosphate as an anti-corrosive to thei...
Lawn Care Fertilizers
 Products designed for commercial turf management
 have low P levels
 P in home lawn care products i...
Urban Storm Water Runoff
 Little information on P content in urban storm water
 runoff in Ohio tributaries
 Impacts could ...
Agricultural Nonpoint Sources
Issues examined
    Cropping history, acres, rotations, yields
    Production practices
    ...
Statewide Historical Ag Trends
 From 1978 to 2007
   Number of farms from 89,000 to 75,000
   Number of farms with cattle ...
Phosphorus Inputs
Agriculture
 Biosolids
 Animal manure
 Commercial fertilizer
                                           ...
Historical Fertilizer Usage
Balance of Ag Inputs and Outputs
                              50

                              40
 Excess lb of P2O5 per...
Trends in Agriculture
 Overall, nutrient inputs are down
   Biosolids, animal manure, commercial fertilizer
 Larger farms,...
Trends in Agriculture, cont.
 Increase in the use of minimum till and no-till
 More fall preparation of seed beds
 Changin...
Sub-Surface Drainage
Channelized Streams and Ditches
Findings: Overview
 Soil nutrient interactions are key to understanding
 nutrient movement
 Soil Phosphorus naturally fluc...
Findings
 Point sources have remained relatively consistent
 Lawn care – can have localized impact, practice BMPs
 Mussels...
Findings
 DRP tributary loadings are driven by runoff events
 Weather trend changes: higher intensity storms, less
 snowfa...
Recommendations
 Fertilizer
    Amount
    Timing
    Incorporation
 Management of field runoff



No single practice will...
Recommendations
 Ensure consistent, reliable soil tests
 and increase the frequency of testing
 Update screening tools tha...
Recommendations
 Push for “Priority Practices” for nutrient management
 Use innovative approaches to sell these practices
...
Ongoing Efforts
 Research projects currently funded by the Ohio Lake
 Erie Commission, USEPA-GLNPO, Great Lakes
 Protectio...
How many lives
can a lake have?



We don’t want to be
responsible for
writing Lake Erie’s
obituary again
www.epa.state.oh.us/dsw

Click: Phosphorus Task Force
Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force Results
Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force Results
Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force Results
Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force Results
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Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force Results

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Presentation at the Lake Erie Management Plan Public Forum held in March 2010.

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Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force Results

  1. 1. Julie Letterhos Ohio Environmental Protection Agency March 12, 2010
  2. 2. Lake Erie Pollution History Causes have varied over the years Sediment Raw sewage/disease Overfishing Chemical contamination Nutrients Exotic species Loss of habitat
  3. 3. Sources Land Use Discharges Exploitation of the resource Introduction of Invasive Species
  4. 4. Lake Erie Cross Section 4
  5. 5. Nutrients Phosphorus identified as the limiting nutrient Lake Erie Wastewater Management Study (LEWMS) Pollution from Land Use Activities Reference Group (PLUARG) Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Clean Water Act Phosphorus Reduction Strategies
  6. 6. Phosphorus Bioavailability Total Phosphorus varies with source Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus ~100% bioavailable Particulate Phosphorus 10 - 30% bioavailable
  7. 7. Point vs. Nonpoint Source Typically, TP from point sources 85% DRP and is considered to be 100% bioavailable TP from nonpoint sources, or the tributary load, was largely particulate and considered about 30% bioavailable, but that seems to be changing
  8. 8. Decreases in Phosphorus Loads
  9. 9. Lake Erie Algal Bloom Blue-green algal blooms, once common in the 1960s, began to return in the mid- 1990s.
  10. 10. Cladophora
  11. 11. Lyngbya wollei Benthic mats become buoyant and float to surface T. Fisher
  12. 12. A Comparison… 1960 - 1970s 1990s – Today Cladophora Cladophora Blue-green algae Blue-green algae Anabaena Microcystis - Aphanizomenon dominant Microcystis (present Lyngbya wollei first appeared in 2006 but not dominant)
  13. 13. Maumee River, Flow Weighted Mean Concentration, Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus 75-94 95-08 Linear (75-94) Linear (95-08) 0.120 0.100 DRP, FWMC, mg/L 0.080 0.060 0.040 0.020 0.000 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 Water Year
  14. 14. Maumee River, Annual Loading, Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus, 1975-2008 900 800 Phosphorus, metric tons 700 Dissolved Reactive 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 Water Year
  15. 15. Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force Members State program personnel from OEPA, ODNR and ODA Academia/Researchers Agricultural agencies and organizations at the federal, state and local level (NRCS, ARS, OSU Extension, Ohio Farm Bureau, Conservation Action Program) USEPA-Great Lakes National Program Office USGS Wastewater Treatment Plant personnel Ohio Lake Erie Office Ohio Fractured Flow Work Group
  16. 16. Task Force Goals (Ohio Focus) Identify and evaluate all potential sources Identify changes since 1995 Examine aspects of agriculture that might influence increase in DRP loads Review relationship between increased DRP and the returning eutrophication in the lake Consider dreissenids and internal cycling Identify research and monitoring needs Make short and long term recommendations
  17. 17. P Task Force Approach Identify all possible sources of DRP Quantify what we can with existing data sources Consult with outside topical experts Consult peer-reviewed publications Identify relative contributions from possible sources Develop recommendations
  18. 18. List of Possible Sources Point sources Wastewater treatment plants, Industrial, CSOs, HSTS Agriculture Urban/residential Lawn care fertilizers, storm water, orthophosphate in treated water, dishwasher detergent Other In lake loads/recycling Streambank erosion Detroit River/upper lake loads Transport mechanisms Subsurface drainage, surface runoff
  19. 19. Point Sources Wastewater Treatment Plants (585 MTA) Bypasses and Combined Sewer Overflows (90 MTA) Industry (32 MTA) Home Sewage Treatment Systems (88 MTA) Total 796 MTA
  20. 20. Point Source Loading to Lake Erie Direct PS Indirect PS Combined Direct and Indirect 14,000 Total Phosphorus, metric tons Target Load 12,000 10,000 8,000 6,000 4,000 2,000 0 1967 1972 1977 1982 1987 1992 1997 2002 2007 Water Year
  21. 21. Point Source Findings and Recommendations Although the load is significant and almost all bioavailable, it is not the source of increasing DRP Pursue timely issuance/updates of permits Evaluate the need to reduce P in effluent based on TMDL findings, other watershed plans Pursue implementation of LTCPs For HSTS: establish statewide rules; ensure proper design and siting; minimize off-lot discharge; training for inspection and maintenance
  22. 22. Public Water Supplies Orthophosphate Many Public Water Supplies began to add orthophosphate as an anti-corrosive to their distribution systems in the mid-1990s Compared PWS phosphate data with WWTP effluent but saw no discernable increases of phosphorus About 15% of finished water is lost from the system and lawn and garden watering could be an additional source Concluded this source is nominal
  23. 23. Lawn Care Fertilizers Products designed for commercial turf management have low P levels P in home lawn care products is declining Starter lawn and “All Purpose” products can have high P levels, but not a primary market product Homeowner practices influence potential for runoff May be more important in urban/suburban developing areas Localized problems can occur, but not a widespread problem
  24. 24. Urban Storm Water Runoff Little information on P content in urban storm water runoff in Ohio tributaries Impacts could be locally significant Construction site runoff could be important Recommend continuation of implementation of Phase II storm water regulations Only 8-14% of land in NW Ohio is urban Could be more of an issue in the central basin
  25. 25. Agricultural Nonpoint Sources Issues examined Cropping history, acres, rotations, yields Production practices Fertilizer use Livestock production Biosolids use Drainage
  26. 26. Statewide Historical Ag Trends From 1978 to 2007 Number of farms from 89,000 to 75,000 Number of farms with cattle have gone from 43,000 to 26,000 Number of farms with hogs from 17,000 to 3700 Number of farms with dairy cattle from 12,689 to 3650 Corn and wheat acreage has not changed. Soybeans acreage has increased. Hay acreage has decreased.
  27. 27. Phosphorus Inputs Agriculture Biosolids Animal manure Commercial fertilizer Recent Fertilizer P Usage in Lake Erie Basin (tons elemental P) 11,235 tons manure, 27% LEB Commercial P 2,830 tons Fertilizer (2006 Values) 27,320 tons LEB Biosolids Fertilizer biosolids, 7% fertilizer, 66% (2007 Avg. Values) LEB Manure Fertilizer (2007 & 2008 Values)
  28. 28. Historical Fertilizer Usage
  29. 29. Balance of Ag Inputs and Outputs 50 40 Excess lb of P2O5 per acre 30 20 10 0 -10 75 77 79 81 83 85 87 89 91 93 95 97 99 01 03 05 07 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 20 20 Year Figure 23. Excess phosphate per acre based upon commercial fertilizer sales information in the state of Ohio, manure generated from animal operations and the resultant amount phosphorus that theoretically will be land applied, and crop removal phosphorus estimates based upon NASS information.
  30. 30. Trends in Agriculture Overall, nutrient inputs are down Biosolids, animal manure, commercial fertilizer Larger farms, larger fields and larger equipment Larger equipment has multiple functions, potential changes in the timing of fertilizer applications Larger, heavier equipment may be leading to soil compaction More year-round operations
  31. 31. Trends in Agriculture, cont. Increase in the use of minimum till and no-till More fall preparation of seed beds Changing methods, timing and placement of fertilizers (i.e. more broadcast application without incorporation) Unknown and uncertain use of soil tests and adherence with recommendations Changes in soil quality Changes in drainage
  32. 32. Sub-Surface Drainage
  33. 33. Channelized Streams and Ditches
  34. 34. Findings: Overview Soil nutrient interactions are key to understanding nutrient movement Soil Phosphorus naturally fluctuates between dissolved and solid forms Soil mineralogy influences solubility Soils in the Maumee and Sandusky watersheds are unique, old lake bed tight clays Phosphorus export from the Maumee and Sandusky watersheds are the highest to Lake Erie and also among the highest in the Midwest
  35. 35. Findings Point sources have remained relatively consistent Lawn care – can have localized impact, practice BMPs Mussels have altered P internal cycling Extent unknown Processing P from external sources Transport mechanisms – surface and subsurface drainage Relative contribution unknown
  36. 36. Findings DRP tributary loadings are driven by runoff events Weather trend changes: higher intensity storms, less snowfall, high winter runoff events Multiple contributors; agriculture is key Need to look at how we manage our P inputs Other factors, including nitrogen, may be affecting algal blooms
  37. 37. Recommendations Fertilizer Amount Timing Incorporation Management of field runoff No single practice will result in lower nutrient runoff
  38. 38. Recommendations Ensure consistent, reliable soil tests and increase the frequency of testing Update screening tools that account for agronomic need and environmental risk (P Index) Link soil test results to fertilizer recommendations Link recommendations to applications
  39. 39. Recommendations Push for “Priority Practices” for nutrient management Use innovative approaches to sell these practices Pursue the Research Agenda: field to stream to estuaries/bays to nearshore to in-lake Review new information, monitor progress, course correct as necessary
  40. 40. Ongoing Efforts Research projects currently funded by the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, USEPA-GLNPO, Great Lakes Protection Fund, Ohio Sea Grant and other projects of the Millennium Network NRCS work group evaluating the P Index Outreach to producers Lakewide Management Plan (LaMP) Proposing ecological endpoints (nutrient concentrations)
  41. 41. How many lives can a lake have? We don’t want to be responsible for writing Lake Erie’s obituary again
  42. 42. www.epa.state.oh.us/dsw Click: Phosphorus Task Force

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