Ohio Man Pleads Guilty to Dumping Contaminated Wastewater, Killing 40,000 Fish

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Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team





An Ohio man has pleaded guilty to causing the death of over 40,000 fish in the Scioto River after dumping contaminated wastewater into the waterway.

Mark Shepherd, 72, admitted to violating the Clean Water Act by releasing approximately 7,000 gallons of pollutants and hazardous substances into the Scioto River near Kenton, Ohio, on April 17, 2021.

The discharge, which contained ammonia, a pollutant and hazardous substance, was done negligently and without proper permits. The pollutants originated from Cessna Transport Inc. and A.G. Bradley Inc., companies owned and operated by Shepherd.

The incident came to light after a fisherman in Hardin County reported a large number of dead fish, which were found approximately 18 miles downstream from the dumping site. The contaminated water caused significant harm to the aquatic ecosystem, resulting in the death of various fish species, including black bass, flathead catfish, sunfish, and minnows.

U.S. Attorney Rebecca C. Lutzko for the Northern District of Ohio emphasized the importance of preserving natural resources and ensuring accountability for environmental harm. Shepherd’s guilty plea underscores the commitment to prosecute individuals who illegally discharge substances into waterways, threatening the environment and wildlife habitats.

The affected area of the Scioto River is commonly used for recreational fishing, highlighting the impact of environmental damage on local communities.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost emphasized the importance of responsible business practices, stating that those who pollute the state’s natural resources will be held accountable. Cooperation among various agencies and partners is essential to safeguarding Ohio’s land, water, and air.

Shepherd’s sentencing is scheduled for August 12, 2024, where he will face consequences for his actions that resulted in significant ecological damage and loss of wildlife in the Scioto River.

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