Non-profit group to examine river usage

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Who uses the Ohio River for recreation — and why?

The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission wants the answer to those questions and a few others. The Cincinnati-based non-profit organization is conducting a survey of recreational use of the river.

“The purpose of the study is to provide ORSANCO with good an accurate information on human use and associated contact with the Ohio River water, which in turn will better inform the commission in its continuing efforts to develop appropriate water quality standards for bacteria necessary to adequately protect the public from illnesses due to water contact,” ORSANCO Executive Director Alan Vicory said.

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The survey will randomly select 5,000 people who live in counties

along the river and ask them about whether they use the river for recreation and if they do not, why they don’t.

According to ORSANCO statistics, approximately 25 million people live in the Ohio River basin. Five million people get their drinking water from the river. More than 600 municipal entities use the river as their source for drinking water.

There are some recreational statistics ORSANCO already has. The river supports more than 130 species of fish. There are 100 marinas along the river.

“We just don’t know how many people are using the river for recreation, where and when,” Vicory said.

The results of the survey should be available next year.