BATAVIA, OH (Feb. 15, 2023) — Lyle Bloom, director of the Clermont County Water Resources Department, and Tim Neyer, assistant director of operations over water treatment, today provided an update to the Board of County Commissioners on the chemical spill in the Ohio River that originated in East Palestine, Ohio.
The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) has been monitoring and sampling the Ohio River for contaminants. The plume is expected to reach the Meldahl Dam between Monday and Wednesday of next week, depending on rainfall amounts. After reaching the dam, it will take about a half day until passing Clermont County water wellfields, which are located between State Route 52 and the Ohio River.
Sampled concentrations continue to decrease – and it’s very possible that by the time they reach Meldahl Dam, they may be non-detectable, as they continue to dilute. Concentrations could dilute to less than one part per billion.
The main concern along the Ohio River has been for surface water treatment plants that pump water directly from the river.
Clermont County has three treatment plants, one of which is located in the southwestern portion of the County where it draws water from the Ohio River Valley Aquifer, not directly from the river. Also, water in the aquifer mainly goes toward the river, so there is little concern about contaminants entering into the wellfields from the river.
However, in an abundance of caution, as the plume passes – particularly if it’s detectable – Water Resources will shut down the wells that are closest to the Ohio River and just operate the wells nearest to State Route 52.
If contaminants are detectable at Meldahl Dam, Water Resources plans to sample water from the wellfields weekly for a month after the plume passes.