The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Committee has made a preliminary decision to allow a West Virginia plant to release more mercury than allowed by law into the Ohio River.

I covered this story in December, when ORSANCO was still accepting public comments on the waiver.

PPG Industries says it won’t be discharging any more mercury from its plant in Natrium, West Virginia than it currently does. But the current limit doesn’t meet the new stricter standards scheduled by ORSANCO, the regional compact that regulates pollution in the Ohio River.

At the time, the suggestion that ORSANCO was considering granting a variance wasn’t received well by environmental groups. Mercury bioaccumulates in fish tissue, which means even a small amount can cause problems.

Now, ORSANCO has reached a preliminary decision, but this launches another public comment period that’s in effect until July 31. Comments can be mailed to ORSANCO, 5735 Kellogg Ave., Cincinnati, OH  45230.  Comments by email should be submitted to ppgvariance@orsanco.org.