The fish consumption advisory — with the exception of carp — for the Ottawa River in Toledo, including the portion that flows through The University of Toledo, has been ordered lifted by the Ohio Department of Health and the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department.
This advisory originally was issued by the Ohio Department of Health in 1991. It resulted from the decades of manufacturing activity and improper waste disposal of hazardous substances in the Ottawa River and its watershed.
The “do not wade or swim” contact advisory previously was lifted for the western half of the Ottawa River, which includes the portion that flows through The University of Toledo Main Campus, in 2010. An advisory to not eat the carp in any section of the Ottawa River remains in effect.
Officials with the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, The University of Toledo and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will gather at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, to remove an existing yellow warning sign located on the north side of the Ottawa River by the footbridge behind Carlson Library. In the event of rain, the press conference will be held in Student Union Room 2582.
“The Ottawa River that flows through The University of Toledo Main Campus is an important part of our university, and we are pleased to see the health of the river improve and the advisories lifted,” said Dr. Patrick Lawrence, UT professor and chair of the Department of Geography and Planning, and chair of the UT President’s Commission on the River. “The University is committed to enhancing the waterway and retaining the valuable natural resource for future generations.”
The UT President’s Commission on the River plans events annually for Celebrate Our River Week that includes joining the community-wide Clean Your Streams campaign with volunteers pulling trash from the waterway.
“This is a major success story for safe clean water in Lucas County but more importantly it has provided better health and well-being for Lucas County and its residents,” said Dr. David Grossman, Toledo health commissioner. “This endeavor has taken over a decade to be celebrated and could not have happened if not for the work and commitment of numerous individuals and groups. However, in Lucas County there is much more work to be done on improving water quality.”
The University is in the process of an Ottawa River restoration project funded with grants from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The project will use natural materials to create changes to the river flow that will enhance the aquatic habitat. Restoration plans are expected to be finalized in April with improvements beginning this summer.
For more information, contact the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department at