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Maysville Utilities Tests Ohio River Following WV Derailment

Terry Prather, The Ledger Independent

Local residents can rest easier knowing drinking water being treated by the Maysville Utility Commission hasn't been contaminated related to a train derailment in West Virginia on Monday (Feb. 16).

The derailment of the CSX train occurred in Mount Carbon, W.Va.  The train was carrying more than 100 tankers of crude oil when it derailed.  At least one tanker went into the Kanawha River; 14 others caught fire which sparked a fire at a nearby house.

According to Greg England, chief operator of the Maysville Utility Commission water treatment plant, the Ohio River Sanitation Commission, ORSANCO, has given the "all clear" to the spill after an analysis testing of water in the Kanawha River.  The analysis shows no detection of any chemicals that can pose a threat to any drinking water plants on the Ohio River, England said.

The Maysville Utility Commission is one of several cities along the Ohio River in possession of a $40,000 instrument, a CMS5000 Monitoring System, provided by ORSANCO to test water from the river for contaminants. The machine constantly monitors water throughout the plant's operation hours. 

England said water from the Ohio River comes in through the plant's intake system, which operates seven days a week from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m.  After 10 p.m., the intake valves are closed.

England said the instrument can detect even small amounts of contaminants and will pick up any petroleum based products.

"If there is ever a spill a couple miles upriver, even an 8 ounce spill of gasoline, we're going to detect it," he said.

England said it takes days for water to reach Maysville from West Virginia and the fact no measurable contamination was found in the Kanawha River is a good thing for cities along the Ohio River.

"It (contaminants) very rarely make it this far," he said.

The Ledger Independent is online at: http://www.maysville-online.com