MIDDLETOWN, Ohio - Environmental activists who
oppose AK Steel's request to change a wastewater discharge permit
say the change would further jeopardize the water quality of a
stream that runs past an AK Steel plant.
About 15 opponents of the proposed permit change - which would
increase the limit of copper and zinc AK Steel is allowed to release
along Dicks Creek - attended an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
public hearing Thursday to argue against the proposal.
Opponents said any additional discharge would cause further
deterioration in the water quality of the 6-mile stream.
"AK Steel is a known violator of the environment, water and air,"
said Edgar Hull, of Salem. "I don't see any rationale for giving
them a permit. They already make a mess here in Middletown. They
should clean that mess up."
The Middletown-based company maintains that its environmental
record is the best in the steel industry.
AK Steel spokesman Alan McCoy has said the company has no
intention of increasing its zinc and copper discharges.
He said the proposal is meant to include a "more realistic
measurement" of the company's chemical concentration and water flow.
Existing calculations do not reflect normal operating conditions,
EPA officials said discharges under the proposed permit would not
exceed water quality standards. The agency is accepting public
comment until Aug. 13 but has not set a deadline for a making its
A group of about 20 residents and activists recently gathered
water samples, which they said would prove that AK Steel is the
chief polluter of Dicks Creek. The samples were sent to a
laboratory, but test results are not yet available.
Middletown is about 25 miles north of Cincinnati.