Water From West Virginia Chemical Spill Makes Its Way Toward Paducah

Jan 20, 2014

Credit Matthew Bowden, Wikimedia Commons

Water containing pollutants from a chemical spill in West Virginia is making its way down the Ohio River, causing water treatment plants throughout Kentucky to take special precautions.

Paducah Water General Manager Glen Anderson said the plant will use activated carbon when the plume reaches the city tomorrow afternoon. He said the ORSANCO River Group has been monitoring the pollutant levels along the Ohio River.

“The dilution of that chemical in the river is such they didn’t see any health impacts to it by the time that it got to Cincinnati or Louisville. So it will be even less so in the water as it comes along the Illinois bank,” he said.” So we don’t expect to see any problems with it. We are monitoring though, taking samples, testing the water.”

Anderson also said polluted water isn't much of a concern because of where the water supply comes from.

“Our intakes are actually in the Tennessee channel although they’re geographically in the Ohio River,” he said. “Our water quality will be Tennessee River quality water during this time period. So we don’t expect to see much of the Ohio River.”

The chemical, known as MCHM, was released into the Elk River in West Virginia Jan. 9, making the water supply unusable for days.