WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Trumbull County judge granted a request Thursday to force a closed Warren steel plant to take care of harmful chemicals that state officials say they left behind.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Craig Butler announced Thursday that Judge Andrew Logan has granted the state’s request for a temporary restraining order against Warren Steel, saying the plant shut down last week and abandoned hazardous chemicals and wastewater on its site.
The order, granted Thursday by Judge Andrew Logan, according to a press release, requires Warren Steel to continue operating its plant to prevent industrial wastewater from overflowing into the Mahoning River and properly secure hazardous waste and chemicals left on the site.
“Our primary concern is public safety,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We don’t want industrial wastewater from this facility to overflow into the Mahoning River, or dangerous chemicals left at the site to cause a fire or explosion or jeopardize the health of children or adults.”
The plant, located at 4000 Mahoning Ave., Warren, closed Nov. 30, but production was expected for resume before the end of March. The plant announced Jan. 14 that it would close permanently.
Over the weekend, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency inspected the site and discovered that wastewater treatment lagoons had filled to dangerously high levels, according to a press release. To reduce the chance of overflow, the Ohio EPA worked with the facility’s electric provider and a former Warren Steel employee to keep the wastewater treatment plant in operation.
Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification (WARN) letters were sent Jan. 11 to the plant’s 162 employees.
According to the WARN notice, a drop in demand, poor economic conditions, and loss of financing forced the closure. The company also noted they received a disconnect notice from the utility company.
Warren Steel Holdings makes steel in square, round and rectangle shapes.
The company could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.