Jennifer Kurko, Assistant District Chief of OEPA’s Northeast District Office and one of NEOCHMM’s favorite presenters, came to our March 2019 meeting to provide us with updates on the Ohio EPA’s priorities and focus under the new Governor and Agency Director. The main environmental priority is protecting water quality. To accomplish this, the H2Ohio Water Quality Initiative will provide a $900M fund to protect water quality for the next 10 years by investing in long-term solutions, addressing challenges such as algae blooms and nutrient pollution, and prevention and management programs that will include science, research, and measurement. Another priority is to improve customer service from the State Government by improving project turnaround times, providing simple, clear, and prompt communication with a focus on the customer.

Jennifer provided follow-up information on the OEPA’s Internal Training Initiative which she spoke about at our November 2016 meeting. Over 500 OEPA compliance staff completed the training in 2017. There are six four-hour training modules for the staff to complete. Some of the topics include understanding inspection authority, preparing for an inspection, what to do after the inspection, and effective communication. In 2019 the training course will be open to air pollution inspectors from contracted agencies and in 2020 it may expand to include solid waste inspectors form the local health departments.

Jennifer also touched upon the topics of the emerging contaminants per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), the new hazardous waste pharmaceutical rules for healthcare and reverse distributors, beneficial use rules, construction and demolition debris, and the 50th anniversary of the fire on the Cuyahoga River and improvements made to water quality in the past 50 years.


NEOCHMM thanks Jennifer for an interesting presentation and her continuing support of our Chapter through these educational sessions.