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WV chemical spill has passed; intakes being reopened

Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) plans to reopen its water intakes along the Ohio River Thursday at 2 p.m. The utility reports water samples indicate the chemical from the Elk River spill in West Virginia has passed through the area.

“Our water quality team has not detected the chemical in the Ohio River water since 4:00 a.m. this morning,” said Tony Parrott, Executive Director of Greater Cincinnati Water Works and the Metropolitan Sewer District.

GCWW and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) have been monitoring the river since the chemical spill was announced last week.

The chemical, identified as 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (methl-cyclohexane methanol), is used in the coal mining industry for coal washing and preparation.

More from a GCWW release:

GCWW detected the chemical at levels between 10 and 30 parts per billion (ppb) as it moved through the Cincinnati area yesterday. Thirty ppb is equal to 0.03 parts per million (ppm). The CDC says the chemical is safe at levels below one ppm. “ The levels GCWW detected in the raw Ohio River water yesterday were well below what the CDC considers safe, “ said Debbie Metz, Superintendent of Water Quality and Treatment. “Since we are no longer detecting the chemical in the Ohio River water, we feel confident about opening up our intakes.” “The safety of our drinking water is our highest priority,” added Parrott. “Our water is safe and we took precautions to ensure our residents receive safe, high quality drinking water. Our objective is to protect our water supply and reduce risk to protect public health.” While the intakes were shut down, the utility supplemented its water supply by using water from its groundwater plant in Fairfield.