Kenton man pleads guilty to federal pollution charges

May 8—TOLEDO — A Kenton man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Toledo to violating the federal Clean Water Act by dumping pollutants and hazardous substances into waterways that killed thousands of fish in the Scioto River.

Investigators say Mark Shepherd, 72, in April 2021 negligently discharged 7,000 gallons of a substance containing ammonia, a pollutant and hazardous substance, into the Scioto River near Kenton.

The substances originated from facilities owned by Shepherd-Cessna Transport Inc. and A.G. Bradley Inc.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources determined the discharge killed 43,094 fish, including black bass, flathead catfish, sunfish and minnows, valued at more than $22,000.

Investigators from the ODNR and other agencies said the contaminants flowed approximately 18 miles downstream from where they entered the river.

"This type of behavior is unacceptable," U.S. Attorney Rebecca C. Lutzko, for the Northern District of Ohio, said in a press release. "The Scioto River is home to abundant fish and other wildlife and is a valuable community resource. Anyone caught illegally discharging substances into our district's waterways that harm our environment will face prosecution. Our office is committed to preserving our natural resources for Ohio communities to enjoy for generations to come."

Shepherd will be sentenced Aug. 12.

The fish kill was originally reported by a local fisherman in Hardin County. The area in which the dumping occurred is routinely used for recreational fishing.

The case was investigated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Attorney General's Environmental Enforcement Unit, the U.S. and Ohio Environmental Protection Agencies and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.