Report: Ohio River Leads Nation in Toxic Discharge

Nov. 2, 2009
Environmental America study finds more than 31 million lb of toxic discharge

According to a new report from Environmental America, the Ohio River leads the nation in total toxic discharge, reported the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

The Ohio River contains more than 31 million lb of toxic discharge, found the study. The Ohio River also was cited as housing the most cancer- and reproductive harm-causing toxic chemicals, with most of this discharge occurring below the Mid-Ohio Valley.

According to the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORANSCO), the Ohio River is a source of drinking water for more than three million people.

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel also reported on the reactions from Ohio River officials, who took issue with certain elements of the study.

"There is a lot of stuff going into those rivers, but it doesn't take into account the size of those rivers," said Peter Tennant, deputy director of ORSANCO. "I would argue a smaller stream, like Mill Creek in Cincinnati, is much more polluted than the Ohio River, which is about a thousand times larger."

The study also reported on top 20 facilities in discharge of reproductive and developmental toxicants, and named Eramet in Marietta, Ohio, and Weirton Inc. in Weirton, W.Va., as part of the top 20.

Eramet spokeswoman Joy Frank-Collins told the Parkersburg News and Sentinel that the study’s data is outdated. The study used data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2007 Toxic Release Inventory (TRI).

"Since 2006 our plant has gone through a complete world of changes," she said. "People need to understand the materials we have on site are not carcinogenic.

"Just because we report on the TRI--it calculates everything that has been released from the plant--it doesn't mean it actually left the plant; the material goes into the water treatment system and stays on site."

Tennant told the Parkersburg News and Sentinel that, despite his issues with the study, he hopes it will inspire companies to clean up.

Source: Parkersburg News and Sentinel