WARREN - The attorney for Patriot Water Treatment LLC and Warren released a letter Tuesday claiming that two state regulatory agencies are interfering with its business by steering customers toward injection wells.
A spokesman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, one of the agencies named in the letter, denied the claim.
April Bott of Bott Law Group LLC in the Columbus suburb of Dublin wrote to the Ohio Attorney General that her clients were informed by two Patriot customers that they were told by ODNR employees that "Patriot will be shut down by Ohio EPA by the end of January."
The workers directed the customers to send their low-salinity water intended for Patriot to injection wells instead for disposal, according to the letter.
Bott wrote that Patriot won't be shut down, and that Warren's wastewater treatment plant won't be banned from accepting Patriot's wastewater as of today. Instead, both are following the Ohio EPA's legal process regarding renewal of Warren's permit to discharge certain levels of dissolved solids, or salt.
ODNR spokesman Carlo LoParo said Tuesday that he inquired with the department's oil and gas division "and found no evidence that our employees were communicating with any entity regarding Patriot Water."
He said the dispute is between the Ohio EPA and Warren over total dissolved solid level changes to Warren's permit.
Tuesday was the last day for the existing permit for the Warren Water Pollution Control Facility to dispose of treated brine water in the Mahoning River. Last year, the Ohio EPA informed Warren it would not renew the permit, and a draft of a new permit prohibits the city from accepting, treating and discharging brine wastewater from shale gas drilling, exploration or production.
The city has appealed and until hearings are held on new regulations, the practice is expected to continue.