One of Ohio’s largest cities shut down its water sourcing from the contaminated Ohio River in a precautionary move protecting residents from potential poisons and toxins that seeped into ground water following the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment and subsequent spills.
The city of Cincinnati, through the Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW), announced ahead of the weekend that it wanted to provide itself and the people it served a “peace of mind” about the safety of their water supply.
GCWW also shared the update on Twitter.
Out of an abundance of caution, @GCWW will shut off the Ohio River intake and will temporarily switch to water reserves. GCWW is continuing to monitor the situation to keep your water safe. Learn more and view up to date water testing results: https://t.co/YVgEQJCnac pic.twitter.com/1DZp4ZnFtS
— City of Cincinnati (@CityOfCincy) February 17, 2023
“Out of an abundance of caution, GCWW will shut off the Ohio River intake ahead of the anticipated arrival of the last detectable chemical concentration in the river,” the statement read. “While the water intake is shut off, GCWW will temporarily switch to water reserves.”
Within the article, several city officials were quoted as saying they are prepared for the events, are monitoring the situation, and taking preventative action to ensure “health, safety, and confidence.”
“Our City Administration is prepared for these types of events. I understand the concern, and I’m confident that temporarily shutting off the Ohio River intake is the best move,” said City Manager Sheryl Long. “There’s zero risk that our water reserves contain contaminants from the train derailment site, and tapping these reserves will give us all peace of mind. I want to thank GCWW, who are truly the best of the best, and state that I have full faith in their decision-making and their ability to keep us safe.”
“We are taking this preventative step to ensure the health, safety, and confidence of residents,” said Mayor Aftab. “Our entire community has East Palestine in our thoughts, and in coordination with the Ohio EPA and the Sanitation Commission, we will continue to support the best recovery possible. I am proud of the swift action of Water Works and City Manager Long in stepping up to protect our families.”
“We continue to monitor the situation closely and stand ready to protect the quality of our drinking water. Ensuring a clean and safe water supply to customers is our top priority,” said GCWW Interim Director Verna Arnette.
The GCWW also said that it “plans to use additional optimized treatment once the intakes are reopened, even if no chemicals are detected.”
Out of an abundance of caution, GCWW shut the water intake at 2 a.m. Sunday. We will continue to monitor river flow and make a decision in the future about when to reopen it.
More info & updated test results: https://t.co/Y7remP5QWI #GCWW #SafeAndHealthy #H20 #CityOfCincinnati pic.twitter.com/LskBz3s9qz
— Cincinnati Water (@CincinnatiWater) February 19, 2023
Last Sunday, the city published a report on how and for what they were testing.
Some of the train cars were carrying industrial chemicals and it is believed that low levels of butyl acrylate seeped into the Ohio River through a small creek about 300 miles north of Cincinnati. To date, GCWW has tested approximately 159 water samples from the date of the derailment at GCWW’s Ohio River water intake.
The testing involved four chemicals — butyl acrylate, vinyl chloride, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, and ethylhexyl acrylate. The chemicals are used in industrial processes including the production of lacquers, enamels, inks, adhesives, paint thinners and industrial cleaners. So far, these chemicals have not been detected in the intake samples.
GCWW has continued to sample the Ohio River. In river samples collected upstream of GCWW intakes and analyzed Sunday morning, a compound called 2-Ethyl-1-hexanol was detected. This compound is commonly used in industrial applications including for flavorings and fragrances. Analyses of water drawn from GCWW’s intake have not indicated a detectable concentration of this compound.
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