EPA Reports Ohio River Most Contaminated Body Of Water In The Country

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Peaceful it may be. But a recent report from the EPA lists the Ohio River as the most contaminated body of water in the country. According to the Annual Toxics Release Inventory, 23 million pounds of chemicals were discharged into the river in 2013. More than 70 percent of them, reportedly coming from a Tri-State company, AK Steel in Rockport.

“They need to monitor what goes in the river and then that way they can treat it better,” said Patricia Rilby.

Evansville Water and Sewer Utility Director Allen Mounts says the “filthy” distinction is a concern for the city.

“If something really serious happened, we don’t have the ability to shut down bringing in water from the Ohio River for very long, maybe three to four hours and that could be detrimental to the city,” said Evansville Water and Sewer Utility Director Allen Mounts.

“For every second I think I calculated about a million and a half gallons of water flow past here and Evansville uses about 25 million gallons,” said Mounts.

The city currently uses one water treatment plant but if something goes wrong, like a major chemical spill affecting this section of the river, there isn’t a back-up. The solution, a second plant. One that uses a ground water system, which pulls water from underground and would eliminate some major risks the city sees from receiving all of its water from the river. 

“A lot of cities have those. In fact, if you think about all the cities along the Ohio River, the next one up stream from us that draws water from the Ohio River is Louisville. So, a lot of the other cities have gone to ground water systems as opposed to what’s called a surface water system,” said Mounts. 

While a second plant is being considered, it would take years to come to life. In the meantime, some who live along the Ohio say they’re not concerned about the water quality. Resting assured it’s clean when it hits their taps.

“We have people that oversee that, watch that and almighty god is the purifier. So we don’t have to worry,” said Steve Tatrow. 

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