Environmental groups say Ohio EPA permitting threats to Big Darby Creek

Three groups are appealing the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of a permit that allows Plain City to discharge more wastewater from its treatment plant into the Big Darby Creek.

The Ohio Environmental Council, Center for Biological Diversity, and Darby Creek Association say they are appealing to the Environmental Review Appeals Commission because such an increase will damage the creek and the environmentally sensitive wildlife inhabiting it, including fish and mussels.

“This isn’t any appeal. This isn’t just any stream. It’s one of the most important streams in the Midwest right in our backyard,” said Nathan Johnson, public lands director for the Ohio Environmental Council.

File photo of Big Darby Creek at Battelle Darby Metro Park.

The permit, approved by the Ohio EPA in October, allows Plain City’s wastewater treatment plant to double its daily capacity from 750,000 gallons to 1.5 million gallons. The Ohio EPA said then that the permit includes conditions to ensure the Big Darby’s water quality is maintained and that aquatic habitat and mussels are protected.

At the time, Ohio EPA spokesman Anthony Chenault said that while Plain City can increase the wastewater volume under the new permit, the amount of pollutants allowed are to remain at the levels that were authorized under the old permit.