Timeline

The Long Path to Recovery for the Black River


Pre-1900
  • 1st Iron Furnace (1860)
  • 1st Sanitary Sewer (1892); it pumps sewage directly to the Black River, resulting in an increase of typhoid cases
  • Johnstown Steel relocates to Lorain (1894-1895)
  • Johnstown Steel becomes Lorain Steel (1898)
  • 1st Blast Furnaces, Lorain Steel (1899)
1901-1910
 
  • Lorain Steel becomes part of US Steel (1901)
  • First pipe made at National Tube Company (1905)
1910-1970
 
  • Limited environmental regulation of discharges
1970
  • Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formed
1972
  • Clean Water Act passes and leads to regulation of discharges
1979
 
  • Steel mill faces air pollution enforcement action
1980
  • Brown bullhead catfish liver studies conducted
1982
 
  • Ohio EPA conducts intensive survey of the Black River
1983
 
  • Ohio Department of Health issues contact advisory for the lower Black River
  • Ohio Department of Health issues a Do No Eat Fish advisory for the lower Black River; later revisions of advisory follow
  • Steel mill coking plant closes
1984
 
  • Brown bullhead catfish liver studies conducted
  • Black River is identified as a Great Lake Area of Concern by the International Joint Commission
1989-1990
  • Remedial dredging of contaminated sediments begins
1991
  • Black River Remedial Action Plan (RAP) formed
1992
 
  • Ohio EPA conducts intensive survey of the Black River
  • Brown bullhead catfish liver studies conducted
1997
  • Ohio EPA conducts intensive survey of the Black River
  • Brown bullhead catfish liver studies conducted
2002
  • Ohio Department of Health lifts contact advisory for the lower Black River
  • The Black River RAP applies for and receives a re-designation of the Fish Tumors and Other Deformities Beneficial Use Impairment from "Impaired" to “In Recovery"
2005
  • Black River delists benthos impairment in the East Branch; it is the first RAP area in the U.S. to completely remove any impairment
2009
  • Lower Black River Ecological Restoration Master Plan completed in December 2009
2011
  • Black River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Report completed in November 2011
2011-2013
  • Fish sampling and fish tissues studies conducted by the Ohio EPA 
  • City of Lorain secured numerous grants for ecological restoration activities within the Black River AOC
  • Invasive species removal along the lower six miles of the river as a result of a U.S. EPA Challenge Grant
2014
  • Ohio EPA releases updated delisting guidance for Ohio AOCs
  • The name is changed from the Black River RAP to the Black River AOC Advisory Committee
2015
  • Black River AOC Advisory Committee votes to begin the process to delist BUIs for fish and wildlife consumption and eutrophication and undesirable algae
  • U.S EPA's Great Lakes National Program Office gives approval to re-designate the AOC to exclude the East and West Branches of the Black River. Based on environmental data, the branches do not significantly differ from other agricultural non-AOC watersheds around the Great Lakes.  
2021
  • The U.S. EPA announced the 100th Beneficial Use Impairment from a U.S. Area of Concern, a historic milestone in restoring the Great Lakes. This accomplishment occured at the Black River AOC, where the EPA removed the Degradation of Aesthetics beneficial use impairment.