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Increasing risk without our consent

Yet again, proposals affecting the health and well-being of everyone in the Mid-Ohio Valley are being made without our input. The Army Corps of Engineers is considering a proposal that would expand a docking facility on Route 7 south of Marietta to allow potentially radioactive drilling wastewater to be offloaded there. No public notice of this proposal appeared in local media, and the Corps will not be holding a public meeting; the online comment period ends on May 6, in just a few days.

Drilling waste contents are not generally made public because of loopholes in US law, but the likely toxins include arsenic, benzene, toluene, and mercury, in addition to a mix of radioactive materials. Much of the wastewater coming our way would be from other states as Ohio’s geology makes it “suitable” for service as a wastewater dumping ground. Some of this out-of-state waste would likely go into injection wells in our county; more of it would be transferred to trucks – as many as 250 per barge – and sent over our roads, through residential neighborhoods and past farms.

Barge accidents and leaks are not unheard-of. The Ohio River provides drinking water to more than five million people and is already considered one of the country’s most polluted bodies of water. Many local water systems already face challenges filtering toxins such as C8: does adding to the risk make sense?

The Corps of Engineers is accepting comments on this permit application until May 6 unless an extension is granted. Please consider submitting a comment and a request for extension at the following web address. Only online comments are being accepted: lrh.usace.army.mil/missions/regulatory/public-notices/article/2142164

Especially in this time of pandemic, people and communities should not be placed at increased risk, and especially not without their informed consent.

Rebecca Phillips, Marietta

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