BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — A new government report raises concerns about the way some companies in the Valley are treating the environment.
27 First News investigative reporter Amanda Smith spent the day on Thursday digging through thousands of company records to see what the report means for residents.
The annual report is called the Toxic Release Inventory. It tracks everything businesses burn off in smoke stacks, send out in waste pipes or to landfills.
While it tracks all of the waste created, the most important number people need to know about is what the report calls the “on-site discharge.” This shows what companies are putting into the water, air or ground.
Three local companies jump out of the toxic report:
- 9,000 pounds of on-site discharge emitted at WTI in East Liverpool
- 10,000 pounds of on-site discharge emitted at Warren Steel Holdings
- 6.700 pounds emitted at Vallourec Star in Youngstown
The government said it found heavy metal pollution around Warren Steel Holdings, including lead, zinc, manganese and mercury. The company has received written warnings and formal complaints from the EPA before.
The government database currently lists the company as being in “non-compliance” and having “significant violations” of toxic waste and clean water laws.
Smith contacted all three companies. WTI did not return the call by the time the story aired. A Warren Steel spokesman said they are working on their answer.
Vallourec asked her to send them the government report so they could prepare a response.
In an emailed statement, Vallourec said “Vallourec Star follows all EPA legal and permit requirements and has a waste recycling rate of approximately 95 percent. Approximately 97 percent of the material reported in the TRI was released to landfills equipped to manage the byproduct appropriately. These byproducts are a fundamental aspect of steel pipe making manufacturing process.”
The statement continued “Vallourec Star has a strong sustainability commitment to use our resources responsibly. In 2012, Vallourec Star was certified as a FirstEnergy efficiency customer and received the Ohio energy award for equipment efficiency improvements. Our onsite water treatment plant has a 99 percent water recycling rate and recirculates up to 100,000 gallons of water per minute. In May 2014, it will be honored with the Steel Manufacturer Association’s Enviromental Commitment Award.”