Clean Water Action says the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental of Protection continues to allow oil and gas waste water to be discharged into the Allegheny River.
The environmental group says Waste Treatment Corporation is dumping high levels of chloride, bromide, lithium, strontium, radium-226, and radium-228 into the river without a current permit.
Clean Water Action director Myron Arnowitt says the plant’s discharge of 200,000 gallons of wastewater a day is putting more than 125,000 pounds of salt into the Allegheny River every day. Arnowitt says his organization has taken steps to sue the Waste Treatment Corporation.
“Government agencies have not taken their proper actions to enforce the Clean Water Act, so that’s why we’re doing it,” Arnowitt said, noting that there is now a 60 day window before a federal court could take up the suit. “At a certain point, we couldn’t wait any longer.”
In the legal notice, Clean Water Action cites a 2012 DEP study that found high levels of salts, metals and radioactive compounds in water and sediment downstream from Waste Treatment Corporation’s plant in Warren, Warren County. The facility has been operating under an expired discharge permit from 2003, despite filing with the DEP for renewal in 2008.
DEP spokesperson Lisa Kasianowitz says the agency is not commenting on the pending litigation. When asked whether or not the DEP planned to renew Waste Treatment Corporation’s permit, Kasianowitz says it is still reviewing the case.
Arnowitt from Clean Water Action says he hopes the legal notice will move the DEP to act on a permit that will set limits on what the facility can dump into the Allegheny River.