An environmental watchdog group has filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming that the City of Warren and an oil and gas waste disposal facility in the city are responsible for violating standards for chemicals being allowed to flow into the Mahoning River.

The Michigan-based, Fresh Water Accountability Project filed a civil action in U.S. District Court in Youngstown Monday alleging that Warren's Water Pollution Control Department and Patriot Water Treatment are in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

The Patriot Water Treatment facility, located at 2840 Sferra Avenue, accepts and pre-treats wastewater from oil and gas producers extracting from the Marcellus and Utica shale using the hydraulic fracturing process, in addition to wastewater from other industrial users, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says Patriot sends the treated water to the city's treatment plant, which ultimately sends the treated liquid into the Mahoning River.

The group says that Patriot and the city are violating several federal and local water pretreatment standards and limits, ultimately allowing water exceeding clean water standards to be sent into the river,

The suit accuses the city of failing to develop and enforce local limits for Barium, alleging that it passes through the water pollution control plant and into the Mahoning River.

The EPA says acute exposure to barium can cause gastrointestinal problems and muscle weakness. Long-term exposure can result in hypertension.

The lawsuit cites publicly available monthly compliance reports which document that “Patriot has repeatedly exceeded standards in its Administrative Order for Zinc, Molybdenum, Ammonia, chemical oxygen demand, total suspended Solids, and total dissolved solids.”

The Fresh Water Accountability Project says its local members are being exposed to threats to their health and welfare due to alleged violations of the Clean Water Act by Patriot and the city.

The suit is asking for a jury trial, civil penalties, and a court order to halt the alleged infractions.

Neither the City of Warren nor Patriot have filed answers to the lawsuit.

The complaint and affidavit may be viewed here: