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City of Cincinnati will Close Water Intake at Plant Ahead of Chemical Concentration in the River


CINCINNATI – The City of Cincinnati and Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) are closely monitoring Ohio River water and are working diligently to ensure the safety of all Cincinnati-area residents following the recent train derailment and subsequent chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio. Out of an abundance of caution, GCWW will shut off the Ohio River intake ahead of the anticipated arrival of the last detectable chemical concentration in the river. While the water intake is shut off, GCWW will temporarily switch to water reserves.

“Our City Administration is prepared for these types of events. I understand the concern, and I’m confident that temporarily shutting off the Ohio River intake is the best move,” said City Manager Sheryl Long. “There’s zero risk that our water reserves contain contaminants from the train derailment site, and tapping these reserves will give us all peace of mind. I want to thank GCWW, who are truly the best of the best, and state that I have full faith in their decision-making and their ability to keep us safe.”

“We are taking this preventative step to ensure the health, safety, and confidence of residents,” said Mayor Aftab. “Our entire community has East Palestine in our thoughts, and in coordination with the Ohio EPA and the Sanitation Commission, we will continue to support the best recovery possible. I am proud of the swift action of Water Works and City Manager Long in stepping up to protect our families.”

GCWW reserves are free from contaminants from the train derailment. While water reserves are being used, GCWW will continue monitoring the Ohio River to determine when it is safe to reactivate the intake. GCWW also plans to use additional optimized treatment once the intakes are reopened, even if no chemicals are detected.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely and stand ready to protect the quality of our drinking water.  Ensuring a clean and safe water supply to customers is our top priority,” said GCWW Interim Director Verna Arnette.

GCWW continues to work with the Ohio EPA, Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), and neighboring water utilities along the river to collect samples and perform additional analyses to assess any potential threat to our drinking water.  GCWW has tested more than 130 water samples at the Ohio River water intake, and no detectable levels of the chemicals from the derailment site have been found. GCWW will continue testing water and posting test results online.