EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Despite fears of contaminated water in the Ohio River reaching Evansville, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke and Evansville Water and Sewer Utility Executive Director Lane Young say there is no risk for the River City.
“We’re very confident, but we want people to be comfortable and ready to turn on their tap water and drink it,” says Young.
EWSU officials initially stated the risk of chemicals from the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment reaching Evansville was slim. During an update on February 22, the City of Evansville doubled down on that assessment, citing clean water tests from the Ohio River in Louisville.
“We believe, based on what has occurred upstream in Louisville, that we do not anticipate any of the chemical being detected here,” says Mayor Winnecke.
Young explains EWSU is always prepared for potential hazards in their water treatment intake system.
“We have enough water in our system to probably provide water for up to around 24 hours,” says Young. “So that would give almost 24 hours for whatever may be evident in the water to move on past.”
Out of an abundance of caution, Young says EWSU added a powdered carbon to their water, which would absorb any potential chemical in the river. Despite this added step, Young says EWSU already routinely monitors water conditions, testing, in some cases, every 3 hours.
“We do this every day. We monitor this every day. This is not new to us, this doesn’t catch us off guard,” explains Young. “We’re aware of this and we know the steps to take to mitigate that to ensure that you have safe water.”
EWSU is also taking steps to fight misinformation after a social media post claimed an “Evansville baby formula plant” would not be able to use city water due to chemicals in the river.
“False information, it’s categorically untrue,” says Young. “We said nothing like that. We’re not shutting down our intake because there’s no need to.”