February 12, 2013

Mahonig River Disaster in Ohio

This is in followup to the horrific story taking place in Ohio with the intentional dumping of toxic frack waste directly into a water system that empties into the Mahonig River.   In order to put the story in perspective, perhaps it is best to start with a little history of the Youngstown / Mahonig River region.

Ask.com Encyclopedia:  [Mahonig River] runs approximately 113 miles with a watershed area of approximately 1,132 square miles. It joins the Shenango River near New Castle, Pennsylvania to form the Beaver River. The river traverses five Ohio counties as well as Lawrence County in PA.

The Mahonig River has a long reputation of contamination from heavy industrial operations in the steel belt of Ohio.  
Petroleum hydrocarbons, benzo(a)pyrene (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), and mercury have all been found in quantities several times the maximum safe levels. Since 1988, the Ohio Department of Health has maintained an advisory against swimming or wading in the river between Leavittsburg and the Pennsylvania border and advises against eating fish caught there. The Corps of Engineers estimates that the remediation will take up to 15 years to complete and cost in excess of US$100 million.
All of that is on record BEFORE the blatant illegal dumping of 20,000 gal of toxic frack waste.  What an irony that the river flow goes back to PA where much of the toxic HVHF waste originates.  Regardless of what cleanup efforts are underway, there can be no guarantee of 100% removal of the toxic chemicals.

There is an historical statement about Youngstown that particularly caught my attention:
At the turn of the 20th century, local industrialists began to convert to steel manufacturing, amid a wave of industrial consolidations that placed much of the Mahoning Valley's industry in the hands of national corporations.
The early industrialists from the late 1800s set the stage for the arguments we are facing today in NY courts - that of Home Rule rights vs state regulations.  When does a community of citizens within established legal borders have the right to declare what they will or will not accept into their environment?   Does a national corporation carry more weight than town entities? Can a corporation put contamination in a region without the consent of the local population?  (injection wells?)

The current legal system in Ohio has gravenly failed with regard to the crime committed by recent dumping.  No one has been arrested or jailed even though the act was clearly against state law and the perpetrator is known.  Does this mean Ohio yields the law in various levels?

The sad story of the toxic dumping in Ohio bears careful watch.  These kinds of questions affect every citizen in every state that is near or already engaged in HVHF.

See also the article on the Toxic Fracking Wastewater Dumped Into Sewer / EcoWatch


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