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Moderate drought rating creeps west along Ohio River
HABs hanging on in Maumee Bay

Monday, November 20, 2023 - last updated 4:38 pm EST

Hazardous Spills reported to OEPA 1-800-282-9378
A vehicle incident Sunday afternoon near Ferry St Park, Riverside Drive in Cincinnati caused an unknown amount of diesel fuel to spill into Ohio River.
An unknown amount of unknown material reported spilled on Clara St and Shawnee Avenue near Ferguson Enterprises in Columbia Sunday. More to follow.

A release of foam was reported over the weekend from Glenway Avenue in Cincinatti. This is a hazardous spill of interest as 2000 gallons of foam released near the Ohio River. The Ohio River is a drinking water source not only for Cincinnati but for populations downstream. With the watershed layers switched on, the map shows the potential impact zones of hazardous spills, that manage to reach a waterway, either directly discharged in a creek or indirectly, escaping through a storm drain. The US Fire Administration explains aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) "is highly concerning because it contains PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). PFAS are toxic chemicals known to negatively impact human health and do not easily break down in the environment, waterways, wildlife, or human bodies." More to come.

Streamflow Situation from USGS Waterwatch based on real time flow monitors across Ohio
The current streamflow status 7-day running average shows relief for most of Ohio over the weekend. The Lake Erie basin east side has returned to normal, the Erie west basin shows relief with Auglaize River watershed stepped down to moderate drought from the severe rating we saw there last week. The Upper Ohio River minor tributaries and Muskingum River basin have been cleared from the drought map, with only the Licking River watershed counted below normal. The Upper Scioto and Upper Great Miami River watersheds of the Ohio River basin are also back to normal Monday.

Middle Ohio River minor tributaries drought status has gone the other direction, with the moderate drought rating of Shade River watershed creeping east around the Lawrence County horn Raccoon-Symmes watershed, Tygarts, Lower Scioto, Brush-White Oak watershed, Little Miami River to claim a corner of Hamilton County near Cincinnati.

After the weekend, the Lake Erie west basin outlook has improved. The Auglaize River watershed has dropped from severe rating to moderate drought with all the area surrounding rated below normal, including St Marys watershed to the south, St Josephs, Tiffin, Lower Maumee to the north and and Blanchard River watershed to the east.

As the drought conditions break in the Ohio River basin, we look for relief to extend south down the Mississippi to Louisiana, suffering the ill effects of the most extreme drought in decades. Visit WTLA.us for more information on downstream effects.

Harmful Algal Bloom update based on the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) satellite monitoring program
The latest satellite image available from NCCOS was captured Saturday, Nov 18. The image is mostly clear with cloud patches obscuring the lake shoreline in Ohio. The HABs seen Friday in the lower Maumee River remain visible in Saturday's image, along with localized HABs in Maumee Bay matching the color scale for a moderate concentration 100 thousand cells per 100 ml. HABs remain visible up the Michigan shoreline into Canada. HABs seen Friday at Metzger Marsh Wildlife Preserve, near Camp Perry, Port Clinton, Catawba Island, South Bass and Isle St George are not visible in the latest image, however may be hidden by cloud cover. Sandusky Bay HABs are not apparent in this latest image, nor the HAB spotted at the Vermilion River outlet.

Public drinking water facilities are required to monitor for algal toxin as per the OEPA standard bi-weekly testing until the first full week of December. Total microcystins test results above the minimum reporting threshold are posted on Ohio Drinking Water Watch.

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