Ruling Puts Patriot Water Plant Back in Business
WARREN, Ohio -- A ruling Tuesday by the Environmental Review Appeals Commission is putting Patriot Water Treatment LLC back in business. The commission determined that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s prohibition of the city of Warren from accepting brine water treated by Patriot was unlawful, according to an announcement from the company.
The Ohio EPA’s denial of the city's permit to accept the treated water resulted in Patroit Water idling production April 1.
The plant treated brine water produced from oil and gas drilling activity and sent it to the city of Warren's wastewater treatment plant. The city's permit renewal from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which took effect April 1, did not allow the city to accept the water from Patriot.
“We are grateful that ERAC took the time to really evaluate all of the evidence and the applicable law,” said Andrew Blocksom, president of Patriot, in a prepared statement. “We have always known that we have the truth on our side and that, eventually, someone would take the time to hear us out.”
Specifically, ERAC determined that the Ohio EPA overstepped its regulatory authority based on a policy change that occurred after a change in administrations and with the appointment of Scott Nally as the new Ohio EPA director. In its ruling, ERAC determined the Ohio EPA had no claim that Patriot’s or Warren’s activities caused any water quality concerns. What it did determine was the Ohio EPA’s shut down of Patriot was based only on a policy decision outside Nally’s authority.
After the company shut down in April, Blocksom said he spent months reaching out to elected officials and the administration in an effort to save his private business, which was started without any governmental money, he emphasized in his company's announcement.
“We are pleased that the court recognized the Ohio EPA had no claims of any water quality issues,” said Tom Angelo, Warren’s director of water pollution control, in his prepared statement.
April Bott of Bott Law Group LLC, legal counsel for both Patriot and Warren, noted this decision concludes a long and difficult process for her clients. “My clients received all necessary permits and approvals in 2010. In my 15 years of practicing environmental law in Ohio, I have never seen a similar situation where the Ohio EPA issues a permit and changes policy post-issuance,” she said in a statement.
Blocksom added, “We’re eager to get our business back up and running and provide individuals and families in our community the opportunity to work, which has been an important part of our vision from the start.”
At the time ofits shutdown, the company employed 25.
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