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Gov. Mike DeWine says testing shows water in Ohio River is safe amid contamination concerns from East Palestine train derailment

'We do believe there’s no reason to be concerned about water now from the Ohio River, and there’s never really been a reason of concern.'

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Amid concerns of chemicals in the Ohio River after the East Palestine train derailment, Gov. Mike DeWine provided another update Friday morning to say the water is safe.

“I’m happy to report this morning that sampling has shown the plume has now completely dissipated," Gov. DeWine announced in regard to the Ohio River. "It was never thought to be a threat, but they could get slight detections."

He said the Ohio River is monitored very extensively all year long and people down the river in areas like Cincinnati have no reason to be concerned.

"To give you some idea of the numbers, the level of concern for this contaminant is 560 parts per billion," he said. "Readings yesterday, when we could still get a reading on it, were under three parts per billion.”

Today it is at zero, according to Gov. DeWine.

“Levels at which this chemical was in the Ohio River have always been very low. We’re no longer getting readings at all. I’m told that some water systems along the Ohio River will close their water intake lines out of an abundance of caution. We understand that. That’s perfectly fine, but we do believe there’s no reason to be concerned about water now from the Ohio River – and there’s never really been a reason of concern. We no longer can get any reading at all of this contaminant.”

Concerns about the Ohio River's safety have been widely shared across social media in recent days -- including the image below, which garnered more than 107,000 shares since it was first posted Monday.

That red dot is East Palestine, OH. It's worth googling if you don't know why this is significant.

Posted by Tory Hunter on Monday, February 13, 2023


The water within Sulphur Run, however, is a different story.

“A section of Sulphur Run, that is very near the crash site, remains very contaminated," Gov. DeWine said. "We knew this. We know this. It’s going to take a while to remediate this. It will be remediated, but it’s certainly a place to be avoided at this point. Very soon after the crash, Sulphur Run was dammed so the contamination in that part of the creek does not contaminate any of the other water. It was kept in there and on hold."

Gov. DeWine said teams have been pumping clean water from the point of the eastern dam and funneling it away from the contaminated section of the creek. 

"This allows clean water to bypass the area of the derailment and prevents clean water from picking up contaminants and carrying them into other waterways," Gov. DeWine explained. "Remediation of the water in the direct area of the spill is going to take some time. Just as it is taking some time to deal with the dirt. This is not a simple process. We’re encouraging people to continue to avoid that area.”

The train derailment happened back on Feb.3. Days later, officials conducted a controlled release of chemicals amid explosion concerns at the site.

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