H2Ohio water infrastructure grants for better water quality

Photo by Samantha Wright

Governor DeWine in October announced he would be giving $3.7 million in grants for the H2Ohio infrastructure grants. The grants will go to local communities to improve the quality of water, replace aging water, ad wastewater infrastructure.

H2Ohio was launched by Gov. DeWine in 2019 which is a comprehensive water quality initiative, the project is addressing water issues within Ohio. The project was funded by the Ohio Assembly of $172 million in 2020. Their funding has allowed projects to take place to reduce phosphorus runoff from farms, which will take time as they create phosphorus-filtering wetlands.

The drinking water infrastructure grants will be helping Manchester, Lawrence county, and Noble County Water Authority.

500,000 – Manchester

250,000 – Larence County

135,000 – Noble County Water Authority

The Wastewater Infrastructure grants will be helping Washington County, Findlay, Bainbridge, Harrison County, and Wayne Lakes.

750,000 – Washington County

600,000 – Findlay

500,000 – Bainbridge

500,000 – Harrison County

500,000 – Wayne Lakes

Jordan Hoewischer, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Director of Water Quality and Research explains the reasoning on why these grants are needed.

“The biggest issue is a nutrient that goes into our Farm fields that are called Phosphorus so that is one of the main drivers for algal blooms that get into lakes and water,” he said “Algal blooms leave big algal patches in the water that disrupt the look of the lake and the waterway,”

Hoewischer explains algal blooms can take oxygen away from fish that are in Ohio lakes, and H2Ohio wants to reduce that as much as possible.

“That main driver is Phosphorus. Corn, soy, beans, any crop need Phosphorus to grow but trying to reduce that and keep it down to the level that the plant needs is the key,” he said “There’s a lot of it that is already in the soil from past production so as we’ve learned more, got smarter, and did more research. We figured that times in the past that farmers were putting on too much Phosphorus, and we know now that we need to keep reducing that number,”

Hoewischer explains that some of the practices help keep the soil in place and that soil erosion is still a big deal.

“We’re keeping the soil in place and keeping nutrients out of the water,” he said “the other part of the project we are creating wetlands to help trap water and nutrients in bigger ponds, and they naturally release it,”

On November 24th Gov. Dewine announced $5 million for H2ohio projects in the Ohio River Basin.

The $5 million will help 11 counties and fund 13 wetland projects to help the water quality in the Ohio River Basin.

The projects will be in Greene, Franklin, Butler, Holmes, Hamilton, Wayne, Miami, Warren, Medina, Mahoning, and Montgomery.

In these counties, the projects will create wetlands, help water quality in existing wetlands, and restore wetlands on hydric soils.

For more information on the H2Ohio projects visit: https://h2.ohio.gov/