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West Virginia teams report finding little, if any oil, in Ohio River tributary

Sarah Ramsey

Update 2/19/15: In a news release the Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) reports response teams on site at the West Virginia train derailment have found little, if any, oil in the Kanawha River, an Ohio River tributary.

The GCWW says, "Water samples have been collected hourly from the river. No oil has been detected in the samples."


The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) based in Cincinnati and various other agencies in and around West Virginia are trying to determine if Monday afternoon's Bakken crude oilspill made its way into the Ohio River.

A CSX train travelling from North Dakota to Yorktown, Virginia derailed near Mount Carbon, caught fire and exploded. It was still burning Tuesday night. The train was carrying millions of gallons of crude when 26 cars derailed. Hundreds had to be evacuated.

ORSANCO says 3,000-5,000 gallons of oily-water mixture have been removed from Armstrong Creek, a small tributary downstream of the spill site. The oil got there apparently via drain pipe(s).

The accident scene is 89 miles from the Ohio River.

The concern is if the oil is found in the Kanawha River it could flow into the Ohio River.

From an ORSANCO news release:

ORSANCO staff is developing a time of travel model for the Kanawha River to determine when a potential contaminant plume would reach ORSANCO's Organics Detection System sites, located at the John Amos Plant on the Kanawha River at river mile 39 and Winfield Locks and Dam at river mile 31. ORSANCO will develop a sampling and analysis plan to implement if necessary.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.