Industrial facilities dumped excessive pollution into Ohio’s waterways 492 times over 21 months, according to a new report by Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center. The facilities rarely faced penalties for this pollution. The Troubled Waters report comes as the Trump administration tries to weaken clean water protections and slash enforcement funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the states.
“All Ohio waterways should be clean for swimming, drinking water, and wildlife,” said Nathaniel Ropski, campaign organizer with Environment Ohio. “But industrial polluters are still dumping chemicals that threaten our health and environment, and no one is holding them accountable.”
In reviewing Clean Water Act compliance data from January 2016 through September 2017, Environment Ohio partner group Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group found that major industrial facilities are regularly dumping pollution beyond legal limits set to protect human health and the environment, in Ohio and across the country.
For example, the report shows that Reserve Environmental Services in Ashtabula County poured pollutants in excess of its permit limits 157 times into Lake Erie, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ICIS database.
"Environment Ohio's research demonstrates how extractive industries and others pollute our water with impunity," says Leann Leiter, Ohio and Pennsylvania Field Advocate for Earthworks. "Ohio regulators need to prioritize the public's obvious interest in clean water by requiring oil and gas operators and all other polluters to clean up their act."
The report shows that polluters rarely face penalties, and recommends several measures to ensure stronger enforcement of, and protection for, clean water. Unfortunately, decision makers in Washington could soon make the pattern of pollution worse.
“Polluters should be held accountable for clean water violations, and we need to protect our waters from even more attacks, like the Trump administration’s current proposals to weaken clean water protections and cut funding for the EPA,” said Ropski. “Ohio’s waterways deserve to be protected.”