WV chemical spill not affecting local water supply

Jan 10, 2014

Eight UV reactors are used to disinfect water during the filtration process at the Greater Cincinnati Water Works.
Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU

The chemical spill affecting water supplies in a large portion of West Virginia has the Greater Cincinnati Water Works keeping a close eye on local water quality.

"Currently the spill has not reached the Cincinnati area," says Communications Officer Michele Ralston.

The spill occurred in the Elk River which is a tributary of the Kanawha River. The Kanawha flows into the Ohio River at Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

Ralston says the Water Works is working with the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission to track the spill.

"We have 13 monitoring stations along the Ohio River where they take samples to determine what is in the river," says Ralston. "If they detect something in the river that shouldn't be there, there is a warning system that alerts water treatment facilities about the spill so they can take precautionary measures before that actual spill reaches their intakes."

There's another backstop in place. The Water Works is one of only a few treatment facilities in the country using granular activated carbon (GAC) in its filtration process. The utility says GAC is considered the best available technology for removing common chemical spills.

Ralston says in the event that this - or any spill - were to reach our area, the river water intakes would be closed leaving the Water Works with a two to three day supply.