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Spill diluted by Ohio River

Jan. 17, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Samples taken Thursday in the Cincinnati area showed that traces of the West Virginia chemical spill continued to flow down the Ohio River without reaching problem levels.

The Greater Cincinnati Water Works shut down river intakes late Tuesday night in anticipation of tainted water arriving from the Elk River spill last Thursday. Monitoring initially showed levels well below what would have been considered unsafe, and officials said Thursday the latest tests showed the tainted water had passed through the area.

Water officials in Louisville, Ky., expected the residue, or plume, from the chemical spill to reach there by Friday morning, but they said the chemical will dilute further and can be adequately treated by their facilities. They didn't expect to shut off intake valves.

The plume of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) passed through Huntingto's Ohio River intake on Monday, reaching a peak level of 0.036 parts per million, far below the 1 part per million level that the Center for Disease Control determined to be a potential health risk. West Virginia American Water did not close its intakes. Levels were even lower in Ashland, Ironton and Russell, although officials there did close intakes.

-- From staff and wire reports

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