Ohio AG Mike DeWine investigates possible bid rigging

Municipal water and sewage treatment plants may have been duped into overpaying for a key chemical additive, according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who is opening an investigation into possible bid rigging.

“Many of Ohio’s local communities use alum to treat drinking water and waste water,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “We need information from local governments that have purchased alum to determine if they got a fair price or if the market was manipulated.”


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Aluminum sulfate, otherwise known as “alum,” is a chemical used to treat both waste water and drinking water. It is also used by pulp and paper making companies.

DeWine’s probe comes as three executives of chemical manufacturing companies face federal charges in New Jersey over allegations of bid rigging. The scheme reportedly involved competitors agreeing among themselves who would win bids to sell alum.

Bid rigging is illegal and can cost government agencies more money in artificially higher prices. DeWine’s office has jurisdiction to represent public entitis in antitrust matters.

Cities across the country have been launching legal claims over possible bid rigging since the federal case against two chemical companies came to light last fall.