top of page

Mahoning Co. prosecutors called to open criminal investigation into radioactive pollution in water

(WKBN) – On Monday and last Friday, Ohio residents handed letters to nine county prosecuting attorneys and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

The letters demanded the enforcement of the Ohio Revised Code and the launch of felony investigations into the disposal of radioactive waste in Ohio drinking watersheds.

Residents charge that the crime of poisoning is knowingly caused by the spreading of radioactive oil and gas drilling “brine” on public highways as a deicer and dust suppressant.

Poisoning is a first-degree felony in violation of O.R.C. § 2927.24.

Letters were delivered to the prosecuting attorneys in Athens, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Lucas, Medina, Portage, Mahoning, Williams and Wood counties as well as Attorney General Dave Yost.

Members of the Ohio Community Rights Network (OHCRN) delivered the letters along with packets of information on the toxicity of the brine.

The packets support the need for criminal investigations into brine processing companies and the State of Ohio, for the spreading and legalization of radioactive brine throughout the state.

“State and private actors are violating Ohio’s criminal code by distributing and depositing radioactive oil and gas waste brine into Ohio watersheds,” said Terry Lodge, CELDF attorney. “State agencies are also guilty of permitting private actors to participate in this practice.”

According to tests run by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) in 2017, all tested samples of brine used for these purposes exceeded both federal and state standards of radioactivity limits into the environment. Despite these results, the radioactive substance is being spread in drinking water basins and ecosystems, according to CELDF.

Other tests run by independent researchers at Penn State, the National Resources Defense Council and Duquesne University have shown similar results.

According to a 2020 investigation published in Rolling Stone Magazine, the oil/gas industry is fully aware of these radiation issues and has been for decades.

The Ohio Legislature is currently considering bills (HB 282 and SB 171) that would further encourage the spreading of radioactive brine by reclassifying it as a commodity in the state. However, even without passage of these bills, the Ohio Department of Transportation and ODNR have both permitted and utilized this brine for several years throughout the state as a road deicer and dust suppressant.

“Section 2927.24 was added to the Ohio Code after the 9/11 attacks on this country. The fear was that ‘terrorists’ might attempt to attack the state’s water supplies with radioactive substances. It’s ironic that the government itself is the one violating its own law and putting all residents and ecosystems throughout the state in danger,” said OHCRN President Bill Lyons.

The letters handed to the county prosecuting attorneys and Ohio Attorney General state:

“These concentrations of Ra-228 and Ra-226 are dangerous. Once oil and gas brine is applied to roadways, it will ultimately be washed into every surface water source in the state. The decay of Ra-226 to safe levels will take more than 11,000 years. Radium is very mobile in water and will come to pervade the water table everywhere throughout Ohio. It is misidentified by our bodies as calcium, and so would be deposited in bones and teeth, from whence it would bombard and mutate surrounding cells into cancers.”


bottom of page