Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

From Ohio History Central

The Ohio state government established the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) on October 23, 1972. The OEPA is to safeguard Ohio's environment. This state agency's mission is to "protect the environment and public health by ensuring compliance with environmental laws and demonstrating leadership in environmental stewardship." The OEPA sets standards for water and air and develops programs for waste management and the clean-up of contaminated sites that pose a hazard to people's health and to the environment.

For example, concerns of an increased rate of cancer, especially leukemia, among students at Marion, Ohio's River Valley Schools arose. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) investigated the situation. This state agency discovered that some of the schools were built on land formally used by the United States Army as a waste dump. The site contained hazardous levels of at least seventy-five chemicals. The OEPA negotiated with the school district and the United States Army Corps of Engineers to have the schools relocated, resulting in a new high school, a new middle school, and two new elementary schools for the River Valley School District. At the OEPA's urging, the Ohio government earmarked 8.9 million dollars for the construction of the new schools, which were completed in 2003, and also convinced federal government authorities to contribute fifteen million dollars. Clean-up of the former dump site began in 2004.

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