YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There’s been a big push the past few years to use the Mahoning River for recreation, namely kayaking and canoeing.
A lot of people are using the river, so WKBN First News started investigating the safety of that idea given the history of how the Mahoning River has been used.
In 1952, a report from the U.S. Geological Survey called the Mahoning River through Youngstown one of the worst polluted streams in the United States, with water temperatures over 120 degrees.
Now, 68 years later, people are kayaking in the Mahoning. But what happens if they fall in? Is that safe: It is ok to swim in the Mahoning River?
During our investigation, we found a document released in April 2020 titled Ohio Sport Fish Consumption Advisory. It was put together by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
In that document is a short section titled Do Not Wade or Swim in These Waters, under which the Mahoning River is listed from Northwest Bridge Road in Warren to the Pennsylvania Line. That is a stretch of the river that was once heavily industrialized.
At the same time, kayaking along the river is promoted where people can easily fall into the water.
First News asked the EPA about the no swim warning. They said they are going to look into it and get back to us Friday. Watch for their response and update on this developing story.
As far as eating the fish out of the Mahoning River, it depends on the species that’s caught. It can range from one Channel Catfish a month to one Yellow Perch a week.
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