Update: Train derailment chemical plume in Ohio River will be in Tri-State area on Friday

Published 1:55 pm Thursday, February 16, 2023

According to a press release from Gov. Mike DeWine’s office, as of 2 p.m. on Thursday, the chemical plume of butyl acrylate in the Ohio River from the East Palestine train derailment is currently located near Gallipolis, and will be near Huntington, West Virginia, sometime Friday.

Testing results indicate that the chemical is currently present at levels below 3 parts per billion, which is well below the 560 parts per billion that the CDC considers hazardous.

No vinyl chloride has been detected in the Ohio River.

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Butyl acrylate’s water-solubility makes it harder to contain because it is absorbed by water (similar to sugar in water) instead of staying separate from water (similar to oil and water).  For this reason, some butyl acrylate slipped beyond mitigation dams and booms and into the Ohio River. Aeration points have been added to further remove the butyl acrylate from the water, which has been effective in decreasing chemical levels.

Out of an abundance of caution, the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission and other agencies along the river are actively sampling water at strategic locations and are closing drinking water intakes in advance of the plume to prevent any butyl acrylate from entering the drinking water. This, combined with enhanced water treatment procedures, will ensure the safety of the drinking water supply for communities along the river