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Residents Protest AK Steel Request

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AK Steel plant

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Concerned resident, Ray Agee

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AK Steel lawyer, Stephen Haughey

An important public health issue was disccused publicly in Middletown Wednesday.

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 Middletown.

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 creek.

"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 property"

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 Haughey.

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.

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