Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Shut Off Ohio River Intake Due to Chemical Contamination

Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky utilities on Monday temporarily shut down their Ohio River intake as low levels of chemicals from a train derailment in East Palestine flowed into the region, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The shutdown occurred as a precautionary measure before the chemicals arrived in the area, according to a spokesperson for the Greater Cincinnati Water Works.

The derailment occurred on Feb 3, causing tanker cars carrying hazardous chemicals to catch fire and rupture, prompting concerns about the potential contamination of the river.

Water samples from upstream of the local intake site have tested positive for low levels of butyl acrylate, with concentrations of up to 4 parts per billion.

Late on Sunday afternoon, Greater Cincinnati Water Works issued a news release stating that a compound called 2-Ethyl-1-hexanol was detected in a sample taken upstream from the local water intake.

However, there was no detectable concentration of this compound at the intake, according to the release.

The Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission, a federal organization representing eight states, is working with local utilities to monitor chemical levels.

The commission operates a detection system that spans the 981-mile length of the Ohio River, collecting daily samples and posting results on its website.

The Greater Cincinnati Water Works provides service to approximately 240,000 customer accounts, covering Cincinnati, most of Hamilton County, and parts of Butler and Warren counties, according to the Enquirer.

Meanwhile, the Northern Kentucky Water District serves nearly 300,000 customers in Campbell and Kenton counties, portions of Boone, Grant, and Pendleton counties, and the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport.