Ohio man pleads guilty to dumping waste into Scioto river, killing 43,000 fish

A Kenton man pleaded guilty to dumping thousands of gallons of contaminated wastewater into the Scioto River, resulting in the death of more than 43,000 fish.

Mark Shepherd, 72, pleaded guilty to one count of negligently discharging a pollutant, according to U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio records. He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 12.

On April 17, 2021, Shepherd dumped nearly 7,000 gallons of wastewater containing ammonia in the river, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Ohio. The substances came from his businesses, Cessna Transport Inc. and A.G. Bradley Inc.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources determined the waste killed 43,094 fish, including black bass, flathead catfish, sunfish and minnows, valued at more than $22,500.

The wastewater reportedly flowed about 18 miles downstream from where Shepherd dumped it. The area where Shepherd dumped the waste is typically used for recreational fishing, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“This type of behavior is unacceptable,” said U.S. Attorney Rebecca C. Lutzko for the Northern District of Ohio. “The Scioto River is home to abundant fish and other wildlife, and it is a valuable community resource, flowing through more than 230 miles of Ohio. As the guilty plea demonstrates, anyone caught illegally discharging substances into our district’s waterways that harm our environment will face prosecution.”