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Just what is rolling on the Ohio River?

The Intelligencer/Wheeling News Register photo by Shelley Hanson A worker sits on the back of a barge filled with coal Friday on the Ohio River near South Wheeling.
The Intelligencer/Wheeling News Register photo by Shelley Hanson
A worker sits on the back of a barge filled with coal Friday on the Ohio River near South Wheeling.

By Shelley Hanson

The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING, W.Va. – With so much focus lately on what’s stored alongside the region’s waterways in tanks, some folks may not realize there are thousands of tons of compounds, chemicals and even grains being shipped through our region via barge.

Locally, a proposal by GreenHunter Water to barge frack waste remains pending, as the U.S. Coast Guard, which is the permitting agency, is considering allowing transport of such fluids via barge.

While people continue to protest the frack waste barging proposal, other chemicals used in industry already are being moved via barge on the rivers. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, during 2010, barges were used to ship 1.6 million tons of sulfuric acid, 315 million tons of petroleum products and 2,000 tons of radioactive waste.

The barges typically are labeled and the containers are equipped with a mailbox welded to the front of it where shipping papers about the load are kept, said Lou Vargo, Wheeling-Ohio County Emergency Management Agency director…

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