History of NEFCO's 208 Plan
The Northeast Ohio Four County Regional Planning and Development Organization (NEFCO) was designated in 1979 by the Governor of Ohio under Section 208 of the federal Clean Water Act to perform areawide planning. Section 208 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) requires that water quality management plans (WQMP) be prepared by states and designated areawide agencies. While Ohio EPA is the lead agency in administering the CWA, Ohio’s six areawide planning agencies, including NEFCO, are designated by the state to develop WQMPs for their respective regions. The focus of the WQMP is to plan for the management of future water quality by local public jurisdictions and agencies.
The first Clean Water Plan (208 Plan) for the entire NEFCO region was completed in 1981. This Plan focused considerable attention on public investments in wastewater treatment facilities and point source water pollution. These efforts helped to produce a remarkable recovery in the region’s water quality.
In the 1990s, the courts found that Ohio EPA may not process discharge permits that conflict with any approved WQMP developed under Section 208 of the Clean Water Act. With the encouragement of Ohio EPA, NEFCO staff worked with county and municipal sewer authorities, health departments, local agencies, and citizens in the preparation of “wastewater prescriptions” (approved wastewater treatment options) for all areas of the Region. NEFCO also developed a process for amending the Clean Water Plan so that the plan could continue to reflect the wastewater priorities of local and county governments.
Clean Water Plan Chapters
While the wastewater management planning chapter attracts a great deal of interest, the Clean Water Plan’s chapters cover a variety of water quality pollution and protection topics. Chapter titles include: Management of Household Sewage Treatment Systems; Management of Nonpoint Source Pollution and Stormwater; Protection of Regionally Important Water Resources; and Watershed Planning. To review any of these chapters, use this link: Clean Water Plan (208 Plan).
Clean Water Plan Updates
The last comprehensive update to all of the 208 Plan’s chapters was in 2011. On November 18, 2020, the NEFCO General Policy Board approved an update to CWP Chapter 3 Wastewater Management Facilities Planning. Another product from this update was an interactive online 208 Plan map. This map enables the user to pan and zoom to view which wastewater options are available for areas of interest. Links for the Chapter 3 update and the interactive map are shown below.
NEFCO's Current Role
Administering the Region’s 208 planning process is a significant core function for NEFCO. With annual funding from the Ohio EPA and local dues from NEFCO’s members, NEFCO staff maintain the Clean Water Plan and administer updates and amendments to it. With its Areawide designation, the NEFCO board, through its actions related to the Clean Water Plan, controls wastewater planning in the Region. Technical assistance is provided regarding the proper use of the 208 Plan. The 208 Plan has been and continues to be a catalyst for wastewater management discussions between counties and municipalities.
As part of its current contract with the Ohio EPA, NEFCO staff is working to update selected chapters in the Clean Water Plan. Progress on that effort will be discussed on this page in the future.
Interactive 208 Map
The interactive CWP (Clean Water (208) Plan) online map allows viewers to zoom in and pan to locations of interest. It shows for any point on the map the NEFCO region’s facilities planning areas (FPAs) and general wastewater treatment prescriptions, with links to the specific prescriptions found in the Chapter 3 Appendices.
For questions regarding the CWP Chapter 3 update, please contact Tom LaPlante or by phone 330-643-5042.