“Your drinking water is safe,” said the president and CEO of the Northern Kentucky Water District Lindsey Rechtin at a Kenton County mayors group meeting on Saturday.
“I would like to take the moment to acknowledge the level of concern that everyone is feeling with respect to their drinking water,” she also said, recognizing that many people and leaders in the area are naturally concerned about the quality of their drinking water following the Norfolk-Southern train derailment and chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio.
Northern Kentucky Water District is responsible for supplying clean water to Kenton, Campbell and parts of Boone County. Currently, all of the water in their region comes from the Ohio River.
Northern Kentucky Water District has been working closely with the Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) to monitor the water quality throughout the region after the accident. ORSANCO is a coalition of several states and the federal government founded in 1948 to monitor levels of pollution throughout the Ohio River and its tributaries, which stretch from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Ill.
Although some chemicals from the derailment have entered the basin and Northern Kentucky Water District closed its Ohio River intake valves this weekend as a precautionary measure, data from ORSANCO suggests that chemical levels have not reached dangerous points.
The district said Sunday morning that any trace remnants of the spill that may still be in the Ohio River were expected to arrive in the area Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon, the water district said that testing of the water had revealed no trace evidence of contaminants.
Addressing the mayors in the meeting, Rechtin said, “I think you’ll feel very good that the level of concern is unfounded based on the science that [ORSANCO] have found.”
ORSANCO has over 25 sampling stations to collect water samples that are then shipped to Greater Cincinnati Waterworks for analysis. The sites begin from near the site of the crash in East Palestine and follow the affected water ways down river. As of Feb. 17, none of the sites have reported dangerous levels of the chemicals that spilled out during the wreck, namely n-Butyl acrylate and vinyl chloride.
ORSANCO’s sampling data is updated regularly. To check the current chemical readings and to see a map of the operating sampling stations, visit the spill response page on ORSANCO’s website.