Water supplies monitored after toxic spill from train

Published 3:36 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2023

After a chemical spill from a train derailment in East Palestine on Feb. 3 leaked into the Ohio River, cities in the Tri-State are monitoring to make sure their water supplies from the river remain safe.

On Tuesday, the City of Ironton released a statement on Facebook that the water plant is taking precautions.

“The current treatment process of the City of Ironton’s water filtration plane is designed to adequately remove any and all contaminants that may be present” from the spill, the city wrote, adding the city follows a treatment process as a precaution to mitigate any unknown contaminants that may be present in the Ohio River.

Email newsletter signup

As an additional precaution, the water plant will cease production during the anticipated time frame that the contaminants from the spill would be passing through the area.

As of 10 a.m. Tuesday, the spill had been tracked to Ohio River mile marker 219.

Ironton is located at mile marker 327.

“The city will continue to closely monitor this spill to more accurately determine its arrival,” the city wrote and added there are currently no drinking water advisories in place.

The City of Ashland, Kentucky, put a press release on Facebook to assure residents would not be impacted by the spill in upper Ohio.

“Based on current data, the spill on the Ohio in northeast Ohio does not pose a risk to quality of our drinking water,” the city wrote. “Your water is safe to drink.”

The city said it is a member of the Ohio River Sanitation Commission, which has been constantly monitoring 981 miles of the Ohio River.

“If the situation or risk to our water treatment changes, we will notify the public immediately,” the city wrote.

Ashland’s intake in at Ohio River mile marker 319.7.

West Virginia American Water said Sunday that it’s also going to install a secondary intake for Huntington, West Virginia, on the Guyandotte River in case there’s a need to switch to an alternate water source.

The utility noted that there hasn’t been any change in raw water at its Ohio River intake.

About 50 cars, including 10 carrying hazardous materials, derailed in a fiery crash Feb. 3 in East Palestine.

Vinyl chloride was later released into the air from five of those cars before crews ignited it to get rid of the highly flammable, toxic chemicals in a controlled environment, creating a dark plume of smoke.

Residents from nearby neighborhoods in Ohio and Pennsylvania were evacuated because of health risks from the fumes, but have since been allowed to return.

– The Associated Press contributed to this story.