Judge Grants State’s Request to Order Abandoned Steel Plant to Treat Industrial Wastewater and Secure the Site

Source: Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Jan 21, 2016

(WARREN, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Craig W. Butler today announced that a Trumbull County judge has granted the state’s request for a temporary restraining order against Warren Steel, after it shut down last week, abandoning hazardous chemicals and wastewater on its site.

The order, granted yesterday by Judge Andrew Logan, requires Warren Steel to continue operating its wastewater treatment plant (to prevent industrial wastewater from overflowing into the Mahoning River), to properly secure hazardous waste and chemicals left on the site, and to properly secure the facility according to state environmental protection laws.

“Our primary concern is public safety,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We don’t want industrial wastewater from this facility to overflow into the Mahoning River, or dangerous chemicals left at the site to cause a fire or explosion or jeopardize the health of children or adults.”

“We are holding Warren Steel accountable to ensure that nothing is left at the site that could pose a threat to public health or the environment,” said Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler. “We won’t let them walk away from their obligations here in Ohio.”

Warren Steel Holdings LLC owns and operates a steel production facility at 4000 Mahoning Ave. in Warren. About Jan. 14, it permanently stopped operations, abandoning hazardous chemicals at the site and stopping operation of its wastewater treatment plant, which created the risk that precipitation would cause untreated wastewater to overflow from the plant and into the Mahoning River.

Over the weekend, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency inspected the site and discovered that wastewater treatment lagoons had filled to dangerously high levels. To reduce the chance of overflow, the Ohio EPA worked with the facility’s electric provider and a former Warren Steel employee to keep the wastewater treatment plant in operation.

Yesterday, the Attorney General, on behalf of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, filed a complaint and a motion for a temporary restraining order against Warren Steel, charging the company with violations of hazardous waste laws, solid waste laws, water pollution laws, and cessation-of-regulated-operations laws.

A preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for Jan. 29.

Copies of the state’s complaint and motion for the temporary restraining order and a copy of the court order are available on the Ohio Attorney General’s website. rnk