Fracking “trade secrets” a major concern for Ohio firefighter

Youngstown Battalion Chief Sil Caggiano is concerned that first responders sent to hazmat-related emergency calls could have problems determining the type of hazard they are handling


By FireRescue1 Staff 

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A firefighter trained in handling hazmat materials is blowing the whistle over concerns of the effect on water wells the oil and gas industry is having in Ohio. 

According to ABC 33 WYTV, Youngstown Battalion Chief Sil Caggiano is concerned that first responders sent to hazmat-related emergency calls could have problems determining the type of hazard they are handling. 

Caggiano said there are multiple drilling sites in the state where high levels of radium were detected. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources tested the wells in the area and found that the chemical levels are above the acceptable limit to be able to drink the water safely or to use for industrial applications. 

The department tested the Homestead and Route 46 wells in Mahoning County. They also tested the Milltree well in Columbiana County. ODNR testing found that Radium-226 and Radium-228 were present in the water, two chemicals that are known to cause cancer, break bones and cause tumors. 

"When I'm looking – as an incident commander at a scene, at a wellhead – and I've got to call somebody to get permission or get information, and Lord knows when they're going to get back to me,” Caggiano said. “It's just putting another layer of government in between me and the information that I need."

Caggiano noted that companies fracking in the area do not need to disclose the types of chemicals they use that they deem to be "trade secrets." This thought process could lead to wasting first responders' valuable time.  

Caggiano thinks that the industry is going unregulated, but he is not against fracking. 

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