Ashland, Cincinnati Shut Water Intakes for Spill Passage; Huntington Water Declared Safe Without Shut Down

Updated 4 years ago Edited by Tony Rutherford from Multiple Reports

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams announced during the Monday night city council meeting that tests by state and local health department officials have determined that this city's water treatment system is safe. A Health Department specialist has stated that dilution has remedied the chemical contamination that spilled into the Elk River. The You Tube video shows the spill passing through downtown Huntington. (Video Matt Pinson)

However, according to the Louisville Courier Journal, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers noticed a licorice odor Monday, Jan. 13 when the spill passed the Greenup Locks and Dams. Kentucky EPA ordered Ashland and Russell intakes temporarily closed. Carbon was placed in the water. According to Kentucky's EPA the spill passed Ashland at about 5:30 a.m. Monday, Jan 13. The level of the chemical in Ashland was 0.023 parts per million.

Jerry Schulte, manager water protection and emergency response for the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, told the Louisville newspaper, “Personally, if I could smell it, I am not going to drink it, and I would not expect anybody else to either.” The Commission monitors Ohio River water quality.

In Cincinnati, the city will shut two Ohio River intake valves until the spill passes, according to WCPO TV quoting a Cincinnati Water Works official. Mayor John Cranley said that the Queen City will use reserves during a 20 hour period when the spill passes.

WV Water Corporation issued the following statement:

"West Virginia American Water is aware of and prepared for other potential impacts resulting from the chemical spill plume migrating down stream.

We’ve been working with state and federal officials, and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission to model the plume to track the Elk River spill, along with a small spill that occurred in Belpre, OH, earlier this week.

We met today with ORSANCO representatives to review test results. Water sampling continues on the Elk, Kanawha and Ohio Rivers to detect any evidence of the chemical. We expect there will be considerable dilution in the rivers that will work in our favor and mitigate the impact of the spill on the water in Huntington.

We are regularly analyzing samples at the intake of the Huntington plant and in the finished water produced by the plant. Latest test results early January 13, indicated .031 parts per million (ppm) at the intake, and .006 in the finished water. Both results are below the health risk level of 1 ppm determined by the Center for Disease Control. In addition, we've brought in additional chemists to help with the monitoring.

Regarding the other chemical spill on the Ohio River (unrelated to the Charleston event) about 120 miles upstream of the Huntington intake, we continue to track and perform testing. We are confident that our Huntington plant’s existing treatment barriers are sufficient to control this chemical, and our experts are also prepared to increase treatment, if deemed necessary."



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