FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail ORSANCO is continuing to work on closing out year-end financial statements, making preparations for a number of very exciting upcoming program projects and are preparing for our upcoming Technical Committee and Commission meetings in Covington, Kentucky, on February 12-14. ORSANCO Staff is continuing the process to finalize fiscal year 2018. Audit field work has been completed and we will be presenting the audit results to the Audit Committee at its meeting on February 13, 2018 and to the Commission at the February 14, 2018 Commission meeting in Covington, Kentucky. We are also finalizing our schedule for the preparation of the 2020 Budget that will be presented to the ORSANCO Program & Finance Committee on April 25, 2019 for review and ultimately for consideration by the full Commission at its June Commission meeting.Federal 106 GrantAs reported last month, finance staff (Joe Gilligan) submitted the closeout paperwork for the 2018 106 Grant. An application was submitted for the federal 2019 program. Any funds remaining in the FY18 grant will be continued into the FY19 grant. We do not have any update beyond this to provide due to the Federal Government partial shutdown that has closed the USEPA.USGS Gage StationsThrough December 31, 2018 a total of $84,354 has been collected. The total due USGS of the amount collected to date is $82,700. ORSANCO receives the remainder for administrative support for overseeing this effort from a finance standpoint.ORBAWe will be presenting a proposed United States Army Corp of Engineers Planning Assistance to States (PAS) agreement to the Commission for consideration and hopefully for approval at the February 14, 2019 Commission meeting. This effort will help support the development of an Ohio River Basin Restoration Strategy. This project, if approved by the Commission, will include ORSANCO in-kind matching resources in the form of staff time and possibly time from our member states’ staff to help develop the plan. We plan to incorporate assistance from Ohio River States that are not members of ORSANCO.ODSOperation and Maintenance – Preventative maintenance services were performed at Weirton and Louisville sites. Repairs were also performed at Portsmouth, St. Albans, and Huntington. Two stations are currently off-line due to instrumentation issues. Evansville is down due to a pump issue and the Parkersburg site is experiencing problems with the purge & trap unit. Repair visits have been scheduled. The Westview and St. Albans units are down due to staffing limitations. All other sites are operational.ODS Renovation Work Group – The Work Group continues to meet and make progress on evaluating options for the next generation of the Organics Detection System. An update on their efforts will be presented at the upcoming Water Users Advisory Committee in January and at the February Commission meetings. Spills NRSA ORSANCO received 36 spill reports from the National Response Center in November; 17 of which had the potential to impact the Ohio River. None required field investigations by staff.There was a coal barge incident that occurred on Christmas Day. This incident resulted when a tug boat pushing 15 coal barges loaded with coal struck the Second Street Bridge over the Ohio River in Louisville. Six of the barges were recovered, and at least 6 of the barges loaded with coal sunk and spilled their coal contents into the Ohio River.This incident received media coverage but did not result in any significant impact to downstream drinking water utilities and is not expected to impact aquatic life because coal is fairly inert in aggregate form. Our spill response team did notify downstream utilities on Christmas to keep them informed of the spill.Contaminant Source Inventory ProjectSource Water Protection staff participated in webinars with US EPA and Corona Environmental to introduce representatives from Portsmouth and Maysville water utilities to the efforts underway to develop an Ohio River contaminant source inventory. Phase 1 of the project, which was completed earlier in 2018, covered the Ohio River from Maysville to Cincinnati. The current phase of the project will extend upstream of Portsmouth. Potential contaminant threats to drinking water intakes are being cataloged and uploaded into the WaterSuite software which is a GIS database management system.Nutrients / HABsGreg Youngstrom participated in the Regional Technical Assistance Group for Nutrient Criteria Development conference call. In addition, staff met with representatives from Marshall University, Northern Kentucky University, and US EPA to evaluate Greenup Locks & Dam site for possible HAB camera deployment. Our team also hosted a meeting with US EPA to review results from the Phase 1 HAB RARE grant and to discuss next steps for this effort.Permit ReviewsStaff received and reviewed 7 NPDES permits (3 draft, 2 modifications, and 2 final) to ensure compliance with ORSANCO’s Pollution Control Standards. No significant issues were identified.Biological Water Quality Subcommittee (BWQSC)Staff have been focused on preparations for the upcoming (BWQSC) meeting to be held January 22 and 23. This Subcommittee is comprised of technical staff from the mainstem state biological departments as well as several other stakeholders such as the US Army Corp of Engineers, USEPA and the USFWS. This meeting is integral towards the development of our 2020 Biological Program Plan as well as our 5 Year Biological Program Plan. We appreciate the great support we receive from this subcommittee and will be reporting outcomes from the meeting to TEC next month as well as incorporating their input into our upcoming FY20 budget preparations.2017 Pool ReportsThe 2017 Pool Reports including the one page summary documents for New Cumberland, Meldahl, and Newburgh, were finalized. Drafts of similar documents were initiated for the 2018 pools (Emsworth Pike Island); final drafts will not be available until the spring once the macroinvertebrate samples are processed.2019 Field Season PlanningThe 2019 Seasonal Biologist positions were announced with several applications already received. Pending budget approval, our intention will be to fill six positions for assistance with normal Ohio River and NRSA activities. Staff are currently analyzing a new source of Ohio River flow data for comparison with biological indicator results, while working with NOAA staff on the potential to use new models to generate historical and current flow data for the Ohio River mainstem. The scientific collection permit application is underway for the 2019 field season.Bimonthly/MetalsAn analytical Memorandum of Agreement for laboratory services was agreed upon and signed for the Clean Metals Program that will cover the program through August of 2019. Staff have secured permission to sample from the new USACE Project of Olmsted Locks & Dam. Staff will continue to substitute Olmsted as a bimonthly/metals site in lieu of the recently deactivated Lock & Dam No. 52. Staff still plan to initiate a paired sampling with Olmsted and L&D 52 once staff regain access to the L&D 52 site. All special use permits for 2019 NRSA sites have been acquired and nearly all landowner permission for 2019 NRSA sites on private property has been secured. Remaining permissions will be obtained during reconnaissance trips this spring. These necessary tasks can be tedious and thanks to the diligence of our contractual biologist, Ryan Hudson, staff can now readily plan for another successful NRSA season.MercuryStaff is in the process of finalizing preliminary draft reports on instream loads, point source loads, and an overarching summary report that pulls together all the project components (atmospheric, point source and instream). A draft summary of findings will be presented at the February TEC meeting.PFASThe TEC-PFAS workgroup call is scheduled for January 15, noon-2pm. A set of decision points regarding design of an Ohio River water quality study have been sent to the group ahead of the call. Two options for monitoring site selection have been developed by the EPA Corvalis probabilistic design team. Staff has been working with the USGS and EPA regarding potential use of the EDI flow-proportional cross-sectional sampling method for PFAS sample collection. This would be the preferred method; however, we are investigating potential contamination issues associated with that method. A report will be provided to TEC in February on this project.Staff attended an OEPA PFAS meeting in Dayton on December 18. Participants included USEPA, OEPA, USGS, Ohio State, Great Miami River Conservancy, and ORSANCO. This was a kick-off meeting to summarize what is going on in the state regarding PFAS monitoring. They plan to continue to meet quarterly.Contact RecreationORSANCO Environmental Scientist, Stacey Cochran, recently completed a very good Bacteria Trend Report detailing 2001-2015 bacteria trend data and results that shows that efforts conducted by waste water utilities and Ohio River mainstem states to reduce combined sewer overflows has resulted in notable reductions in bacteria levels in the Ohio River.Stacey manages our Contact Recreation ProgramThis has provided the data to allow Stacey to complete this very important report.Our Communications team will be working with the waste water utilities as well as mainstem state public information folks to coordinate a press release that details the improvement that our Contact Recreation program demonstrates. The focus on the release will be to highlight the great work that waste water utilities and our member states have done to improve CSO discharges to the Ohio River. Our trends report demonstrates the improvements very well.Pollution Control Standards (PCS)As reported last month, the PCS Committee established a subcommittee to assist with the 2018 Pollution Control Standards Review. The subcommittee met four times via conference call and in person and provided their report to the full Pollution Control Standards committee on December 14 to consider proposals developed by the subcommittee. Two proposals were reviewed and the PCS Committee hopes to have a recommended proposal for the Commission to consider at its February 14 Commission meeting. In an effort to keep the ORSANCO Watershed Organizations Advisory committee members informed of the Committee’s work, there have been a couple of high level discussions with Watershed Organization members to discuss some of the proposal considerations.Upcoming Calls/MeetingsFebruary 12-14, 2019 – Commission Meeting in Covington, KentuckyApril 25, 2019 – Program and Finance Committee Meeting (NKY location to be determined) June 4-6, 2019 – Commission Meeting in Richmond, VirginiaOctober 8-10, 2019 – Commission Meeting (Location to be determined)February 11-13, 2020 – Commission Meeting in Covington, KentuckyJune 9-11, 2020 – Commission Meeting (Location to be determined) through which ORSANCO conducts weekly monitoring, between Aand October, of bacteria levels in six urban areas along the Ohio River (Pittsburgh, Wheeling, Huntington, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Evansville). Samples are collected at upstream and downstream locations. Samples are analyzed for bothand October, of bacteria levels in six urban areas along the Ohio River (Pittsburgh, Wheeling, Huntington, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Evansville). Samples are collected at upstream and downstream locations. Samples are analyzed for both fecal coliform and E. Coli bacteria and October, of bacteria levels in six urban areas along the Ohio River (Pittsburgh, Wheeling, Huntington, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Evansville). Samples are collected at upstream and downstream locations. Samples are analyzed for both fecal coliform and E. Coli bacteria and October, of bacteria levels in six urban areas along the Ohio River (Pittsburgh, Wheeling, Huntington, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Evansville). Samples are collected at upstream and downstream locations. Samples are analyzed for both fecal coliform and E. Coli bacteria.
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