More than two years after officials issued a "do not eat" advisory for all fish along a stretch of the Shenango River, some anglers continue to do just that.

As Daniel Gerda looks out over the Shenango River, reflected in its murky waters is an important part of his past.

"I've fished here since I was 16-years-old, I'm 28 now," he says.

Lots of other locals have the same story, but also in those murky waters is the reason many of them don't fish here anymore.

"What we have here is an EPA Superfund site. Which is where Westinghouse made transformers that contained PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls," says Dr. Brandi Baros, a biologist with Penn State Shenango and president of Shenango River Watchers.

Decades of bad environmental practices allowed the dangerous carcinogen to seep into the soil, and eventually the riverbed.

The plants absorb the PCBs, and the fish eat the plants.

"There was a big cleanup effort here a few years ago that the EPA led and they dredged some soil out," said Baros. "DEP (Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection) has done some follow-up testing, and that testing has shown that in fact there were still a lot of lingering PCBs and it wasn't just a little bit."

So two years ago officials extended a 'do not eat' advisory for certain fish to include all fish along the Shenango from the lake dam down to New Castle where the river meets the Neshannock Creek.

DEP held a public meeting to spread the word. It posted the advisory on its website, the fish and boat commission website, and in the yearly commission regulations booklet.
But one simple means of communicating that warning got left out.

"I haven't seen any signs here," says Gerda.

There's a simple reason why. State law doesn't require them.
And despite officials learning at a meeting more than a year ago that people were still eating the fish, there are still no signs urging them not to.

"At this environmental justice meeting, it was brought up that people are fishing for sustenance there. So we took this as an opportunity to say maybe it's time for this particular location to get some signage out," says DEP spokesman Tom Decker. "We can't stop them from taking the fish home."

And that's what experienced fishermen like Gerda are afraid of.

"Sooner or later something's going to happen to them, and they're going to regret eating the fish from the river," he said.

Tom Decker says the signs are being printed and will be placed in the next couple weeks.