New Ranking Emphasizes Need to Protect Ohio River

A national ranking on the rivers in the United States reminds us of the value of the Ohio River.

Aerial view of Louisville Water TowerThe American Rivers, a non-profit organization that advocates for eliminating threats to American rivers, named the Ohio River among America’s “most endangered rivers.”  The ranking cites the need for increased federal funding to protect water quality.

For Louisville Water, the ranking also emphasizes the work Louisville Water does every day: taking the Ohio River and turning it into the best-tasting and some of the highest-quality drinking water in the United States.

We Value the Ohio River

The Ohio River is an amazing natural resource with an average of 75 billion gallons flowing by Louisville daily. The river is also a waterway interstate highway with barge and recreation traffic and the river flows by industries, agriculture, and homes.

Louisville Water has a 163-year history with the Ohio River and since 1860, we’ve used the river as the source for our community’s drinking water. That means we understand the river conditions and how they change. It also means that based on what we “see” with the river conditions we adjust our treatment to ensure the same quality drinking water comes from the faucet every day.

Daily Monitoring and Ongoing Research

There’s a science to producing drinking water and every day, we sample and monitor the Ohio River. At our EPA-certified lab, our scientists do an average of 200 tests daily to ensure water quality. That work continues in the community where we continue to monitor.

Research is important and it happens in our lab and in partnerships with local, regional, and federal agencies. With the Ohio River, one of our best partners is ORSANCO, the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission. We work with ORSANCO and other water utilities on the Ohio River for daily monitoring, studying contaminants we see in the river and determining the best treatment methods. We also do research with national groups including the Water Research Foundation and the American Water Works Association.

What’s our Biggest Challenge?

Often, we balance changing weather conditions in producing drinking water. The increased frequency and intensity of large rain events change the Ohio River as do long periods of no precipitation. There are also regular, seasonal occurrences with agriculture. Then, as the science of water advances, there are emerging contaminants that we study in the Ohio River. Regardless of the river conditions, we produce the same high-quality drinking water every day.

Stay Informed

The Ohio River is much “healthier” than it was just a few years ago. Drinking water utilities have more research tools and a better understanding of science to continue to improve quality. Louisville Water believes continued investment into maintaining water quality is important and each of us plays a role. Learn about our water quality or invite Louisville Water to speak to your organization.

Whether it’s funding, advocacy, awareness, or increased monitoring and research, it’s important to value the Ohio River. The river is a treasured resource for our region and Louisville Water supports efforts to continually improve and protect it.