important public health issue was disccused publicly in Middletown
Residents were able to sound off on a request to dump more waste
water into a nearby creek that is already polluted.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issued a Fish
Consumption Advisory, warning people not to eat fish from 12
different Ohio waterways. At the top of that list is Dick's Creek in
An attorney from AK Steel went to Middletown High School to
explain to residents why the company wants to dump more waste water
into Dick's Creek. Residents say that's a public health hazard and
they are saying "no way" to the request.
Behind the playground of Middletown Amanda Elementary, the creek
bears a sign warning: "Unsafe water, do not swim, drink, fish or
bathe in Dick's Creek."
The reason is that in the past the Ohio EPA detected
cancer-linked PCB chemicals in creek soil. The dangerous chemical
was also linked to discharges coming from nearby AK Steel.
Resident Ray Agee lives behind the AK Steel plant.
"I used to swim in that creek years ago," Agee said.
He also believes plant particles have damaged the paint on his
truck and has collected metallic particles from his home's gutters,
but now his focus is on Dick's Creek as AK Steel is asking the Ohio
EPA for permission to discharge even higher levels of waste into the
"I think the creek should be cleaned up and be put back to some
sort condition that would not harm anyone who happened to be in it
or around it. I don't think AK Steel has the right to destroy public
At a small but important hearing Wednesday night a lawyer from AK
Steel told residents that its waste water is essentially cleaned
before it's discharged.
"We have extra treated ground water that we need to handle.
That's the only discharge that is in the application," said Stephen
Now the Ohio EPA must consider the company's request even though
they are currently suing the company for violations and also as it
warns people like Agee to stay away from Dick's Creek.
Parents and residents are especially worried that the kids, like
those at Amanda Elementary, might possibly ignore those warning
signs along the creek.
They say they do not want anymore potential pollutes being put
into the creek.