Diesel Spill On The Ohio River

UPDATE: Aug. 20, 2014

Greater Cincinnati Water Works Resumes Normal Operations

Water quality samples collected at Greater Cincinnati Water Works' (GCWW's) intakes show the Ohio River Spill has passed through the Cincinnati area. The diesel fuel spill has caused significant precautionary measures to be in place to protect public health throughout the last 24 hours.

GCWW has coordinated closely with Ohio EPA, USEPA, ORSANCO, Duke as well as other water suppliers. The diesel material that spilled Aug. 18 at approximately 11:15 p.m. is not detectable in Ohio River water samples.

As a result, Greater Cincinnati Water Works has resumed pumping water from the Ohio River for treatment and getting back to normal operations as of approximately 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 19.

"Our water quality team has been monitoring the Ohio River, collected dozens of samples and has not detected diesel fuel in the Ohio River water near the intake at all during the course of this emergency incident," said Tony Parrott, Executive Director of Greater Cincinnati Water Works and the Metropolitan Sewer District.

GCWW has been collecting Ohio River water samples every hour and carefully monitoring the Ohio River since the diesel product spilled into the Ohio River on Monday night near New Richmond. All results indicate that the water is clean at the intake and the spill is not detected at the area of the intake.

GCWW has also received confirmation from samples ORSANCO collected upstream of the intake that upstream water is clear of contaminants as well. The spill was identified as diesel #2 and its characteristics allow it to float on top of the water surface because it is lighter than water.

GCWW's state-of-the-art treatment system uses both powdered carbon and granular activated carbon, creating a multi-barrier approach to remove pollutants from the water, if necessary.

Although GCWW can treat the water to remove the pollutants, the utility chose to shut-down its Ohio River intakes shortly after midnight on Monday as a precautionary measure to protect its drinking water supply and the customers it supplies.

"The safety of our drinking water is our highest priority," added Parrott. "Our water is safe and we took precautions to ensure our customers receive safe, high-quality drinking water at the tap. 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 maximizing the storage of water in reservoirs while also pumping additional water from its Bolton groundwater facility.

GCWW serves more than 1.1 million people in most of Hamilton County and parts of Butler, Warren and Clermont counties in Ohio and Boone County in Northern Kentucky including the City of Florence. On average, the utility produces about 133 million gallons of water a day and can treat up to 280 million gallons daily. It draws most of its source water from the Ohio River.


ORIGINAL RELEASE: Aug. 19, 2014

Diesel Spill On The Ohio River

GCWW Takes Precautions To Ensure Water Safety

Just after midnight Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) received notification from Duke Energy of a diesel fuel spill of several thousand gallons into the Ohio River approximately 6-7 hours upstream of the Cincinnati area.

As a precautionary measure, GCWW immediately shut down the Ohio River intakes to ensure water safety. GCWW water quality scientists are continuously monitoring the Ohio River, in conjunction with the Northern Kentucky Water District, in order to keep the water supply safe and protect the public health.

While the intakes are closed, GCWW will continue to take samples along the Ohio River to ensure there are no threats to the water supply.
GCWW has adequate capacity to continue operating while the intakes are down.

The intakes will remain closed as long as possible to allow the spill to pass. In the very unlikely chance that intakes need to be opened before the spill is completely passed by, GCWW has the ability to utilize powdered activated carbon (PAC) and the granular activated carbon (GAC) which was designed as an additional safety measure to handle instances such as this.

GCWW is working with the Ohio EPA, Duke Energy, and the Coast Guard to assess the situation and provide updates as new information becomes available.

GCWW serves more than 1.1 million people in most of Hamilton County and parts of Butler, Warren and Clermont counties in Ohio and Boone County in Northern Kentucky including the City of Florence. On average, the utility produces about 133 million gallons of water a day and can treat up to 280 million gallons daily. It draws most of its source water from the Ohio River.