Judge: Ashtabula County business owner must pay for pollution

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storage tank leaking
Oil stained soil leaks from a storage tank owned by an Ashtabula County business owner. (photo courtesy of the Ohio Attorney General's Office)

SALEM, Ohio — A judge ordered an Ashtabula County business owner to pay $200,000 for polluting the environment by illegally burning and mishandling oil field waste.

Richard Morrow was ordered Jan. 27 by Judge Thomas Harris, of Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court, to pay the civil penalty, according to a press release from the Ohio Attorney General’s office.

Morrow owns RWC Properties and Circle M Oilfield Transportation, both located in Williamsfield, Ohio.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency twice reported seeing Morrow in 2017 burning waste in large storage tanks. Later inspections by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources noted large areas of soil stained by waste leaking from the tanks.

Morrow and his businesses didn’t address the violations, despite repeated orders from the Ohio EPA and ODNR.  In 2018, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office sued Morrow and his companies for unlawful transport, storage and open burning of oil field waste, the release stated.

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Rachel is a reporter with Farm and Dairy and a graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She married a fourth-generation beef and sheep farmer and settled down in her hometown in Beaver County. Before coming to Farm and Dairy, she worked at several daily and weekly newspapers throughout Western Pennsylvania covering everything from education and community news to police and courts.

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