After a contaminated river and spewing smokestacks in the 1960's, folks in Ashtabula are still worried about the impact of a pig iron plant coming to town .
On February 7, the EPA issued an air permit, giving the official go ahead to break ground this summer, but some in town are still skeptical .
University of Akron geosciences professor John Senko said people are justified to worry.
“There are certain environmental concerns associated with coal production. There are gas emissions, and there’s the potential for water contamination," Senko said.
He worked in a steel mill during undergraduate school and said the EPA has strengthened its regulations.
As long as the city follows protocol, Senko said there should not be any concerns in the foreseeable future.
“I think they can be rest assured that history repeating itself would be a little bit less likely. It’s not going to be hell with the lid off," he said.
City manager Jim Timonere said there will be a public meeting for people in town to discuss any concerns they still have, but no date has been set.
The multi-million dollar plant is expected to break ground this summer and be completed by 2021.
City officials said it will bring in close to 650 new jobs, and the plant will bring in 100 permanent high-paying jobs. Petmin USA will build the plant at the Kinder Morgan Pinney Dock facility, and it is expected to produce about 425,000 tons of pig iron every year.
Pig iron is used in a multitude of things like trains, toys, hydrants and medical equipment.