Lack of communication on water contamination concerns some PA residents

Months after the discovery of pollution in the Mahoning River, residents downstream on the Beaver River, don’t want it to happen again.

Caitlin Fitch has the story.

Regulars, who frequent Matty Goffe’s Café on College Hill, find the atmosphere comfortable and the coffee uncomplicated. They didn’t seem too concerned about the contaminants that ended up in their water supply.

Contaminants like brine and brine residue found in the wastewater that was dumped about 40 miles upstream. Last February, the EPA charged a Youngstown businessman with disposing of fracking waste in a sewer drain.

That waste found its way downstream.

Chuck Goffe, owner of the café and a lifelong Beaver Falls resident, does what he can to protect his patrons by filtering his water. But when it comes time for discussion at his cafe, he says the townspeople are mute.

I don’t know why I mean, I belong to the Lions Club – they don’t want to talk about it. They wouldn’t talk about it.

And although the townspeople aren’t talking, John Poister, the spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is.

Had we been properly notified we probably would have been able to give them more of a warning.

The Ohio Department of Environmental Protection didn’t notify Beaver Falls for six days. The Beaver Falls Municipal Authority supplies water for 22 Pennsylvania communities. Beaver Falls is just one.

Beaver Falls noticed some problems with water quality, but Poister doesn’t link the problems to the discharge.

The incident in Youngstown probably just had a minor effect. They noticed some problems and increased their charcoal purification

Jim Marshall, state representative for the 14th district, wasn’t pleased with the water pollution and hopes to avoid an incident like this in the future.

The only way to really protect the water quality is the municipalities or municipal authorities are aware that there’s a problem.

After all Marshall’s a consumer, too.

I’m concerned anytime somebody dumps something into any water supply. I’m a customer and wish we would have had a better line of communication.

As fracking on both sides of the border continues, people are concerned about the future safety of their water.

For TheNewsOutlet.org, I’m Caitlin Fitch.