Louisville’s drinking water is safe to drink, and scientists continue increased monitoring to keep it high-quality.
The Ohio River water that is upriver from Louisville does not contain any quantifiable amounts of butyl acrylate or other chemicals that could be attributed to the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. Our sampling confirms there is no water quality concern.
Based on our calculations, the Ohio River water that would have contained remnants of the train derailment spill will flow by Louisville today. Because we have no detections in our sampling, this means there are no quantifiable levels in the river water.
Analyzing the water quality in the Ohio River
More than a week ago, our water quality team increased monitoring of the Ohio River. Throughout the weekend, we collected samples at multiple locations upriver from Louisville. We also looked at data from the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) and other utilities.
When there’s a potential issue with water quality, it’s important to know that Louisville Water can adjust our treatment strategy to minimize any risk. One advantage in planning is the river itself. Significant rainfall late last week greatly accelerated the flow of the river and that’s an advantage for diluting any remnants of a spill. On a normal day, an average of 75 billion gallons flow by Louisville, but because of the rainfall, the river’s flow has increased to more than three times that amount.
Non-stop sampling and analysis
We do daily sampling on the Ohio River as part of more than 200 tests on the community’s drinking water. When there’s a large incident on the river, our enhanced monitoring continues for days. That’s what we’re doing now: more frequent monitoring, analysis, and strategy to ensure safe drinking water.
Louisville Water is part of a network of utilities that continuously monitors the water quality in the Ohio River. We base our treatment strategy on what we detect upriver and then calculate the flow of the river to determine our plan. That means the treatment strategies in other cities may not be necessary here in Louisville. Public health is paramount at Louisville Water. You can trust our team is doing everything possible to ensure Louisville Pure Tap® is safe to drink.
The table below shows Louisville Water’s sampling data for butyl acrylate from Saturday, February 11 through Sunday, February 19. Each day, there was no detection.
Click Here to view Louisville Water’s sampling table.
More about the data in the chart
Every day, Louisville samples the Ohio River for 30 volatile organic carbon compounds (VOCs) as part of water quality research. Butyl acrylate is a VOC. Scientists measure any detections in parts per billion. The table includes daily results for VOC sampling and butyl acrylate. As you can see, there are no detections of any of these. Our sampling for butyl acrylate began on February 11 as we looked at the river flow following the train derailment.