Ohio River Safe from Chemical Fallout
Traces of the Elk River chemical spill passed through the Greenup Pool of the Mighty Ohio on Monday. Levels of the chemical 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol (MCHM) measuring a miniscule .006 (6 one thousands parts per million or 6 parts per billion) in the Huntington water supply.
That amounted fell even more downstream toward Ashland-Ironton and the lower end of the Greenup pool, a sure sign the risk of any environmental hazard to the River Cities of Ashland-Ironton-Huntington had not materialized as had been correctly predicted by hydraulic engineers.
Ashland City Manager Ben Bitter said in a Monday afternoon press release that “Even at their peak, concentrations in Ashland have not exceeded two parts per billion, which is far better than the one part per million threshold considered safe by the CDC”.
By way of comparison, Charleston water levels had reached 3 parts per million (3 ppm) this past weekend. That was a level that had paralyzed the city’s drinking water system and was 500 times higher than what was measured in Huntington.
By Monday afternoon, the spill has been thoroughly diluted during its 4 day, 100 mile trip. This journey began Thursday on the Elk in Charleston, continued through the Winfield Pool on the Great Kanawha this past weekend and then made its way into and through the Byrd and Greenup Pools of the Ohio on Monday. With every passing mile downstream, the concentration of MCHM was getting fainter and fainter.
On Tuesday, the remnant plume of contaminant will pass harmlessly through the Meldahl Pool of the Ohio as it passes downstream from Portsmouth-Vanceburg toward Cincinnati-Covington.
As a precaution, the city of Cincinnati was planning to shut off it water intake from the Ohio River on Tuesday, Mary Tignor of WSAZ and a former Cincy resident reports.