Environment in Allen County

The relationship between the natural and built environment affects the health of the human community and natural environment. The ecological health of the community’s natural environment is affected by collective and individual behaviors . . . acts of both commission and omission. The built environment is the result of accumulated years of capital and human investments, which must support both human health and that of the natural environment. While the natural environment has long sustained the built environment, its condition is the net result of our local policies and personal behaviors.

The Planning Commission is dedicated to helping both individuals and communities make thoughtful decisions that not only support local development, but also increases the viability and health of the natural environment. Provided below are suggested widgets and hot links intended to help decision makers and individual citizens make decisions that could lead to improving the local natural environment.

 Air Quality

According to the Clean Air Act, regions must meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for specific pollutants, including: ozone, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, or nitrogen dioxide. Regions must be able to demonstrate that any highway or transit activities will not cause new air quality violations, worsen existing air quality violations, or delay timely attainment of the relevant air quality standard, or interim milestone. Therefore, all federally funded long-range transportation plans, transportation improvement programs as well as transportation projects must demonstrate consistency with the State Implementation Plan (SIP) or state air quality plan for meeting NAAQS air quality standards. In 2006, Allen County was able to demonstrate NAAQS attainment. However, the MPO continues to work with the OEPS and ODOT to maintain air quality standards.

Although Allen County was designated an 8-Hour Ozone non-attainment on June 11, 2004, the MPO worked with Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) and Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to develop a SIP to document regional strategies needed to achieve emission reductions necessary to meet the air quality standards. An outcome of the collaboration identified mobile source emissions (emissions from vehicles traveling on the planned transportation system) thresholds which cannot be exceeded. Per the most recent U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) conformity determination on the Long Range Plan dated September, 2013, the .

Greenhouse Gases

Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are often called greenhouse gases. The EPA Climate Change Site (https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators) provides information and data on emissions of greenhouse gases to Earth’s atmosphere, and also the removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Some greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide occur naturally and are emitted to the atmosphere through natural processes and human activities. Other greenhouse gases (e.g., fluorinated gases) are created and emitted solely through human activities. The principal greenhouse gases that enter the atmosphere because of human activities are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases. You can visit the EPA Climate Change Site and use the online calculator to get a rough “ballpark” estimate of your personal or family’s greenhouse gas emissions and explore the impact of taking various actions to reduce your emissions. See the hot links and widgets on this page.

Water Quality

For local, federal, and state officials water pollution is a major concern. In 2002 and 2004, the Ottawa River and it tributaries were investigated by the USEPA for conformity with the Clean Water Act. As a result of the study, several tributaries were found to be impaired, specifically the Ottawa River and Lost Creek in Bath Township. To maintain compliance with federal legislation and both USEPA and OEPA mandates, the County must meet Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) established limits by managing storm water runoff, prevent hazardous materials from entering the environment, and identify/eliminate pollutant discharges. Following are links to more information about water quality in Allen County.