Local water quality not affected by East Palestine chemical spill


TROY — Municipal water sources in the Miami Valley have not been affected by chemicals released during a recent train derailment in East Palestine, according to officials with the Miami Conservancy District.

“The Great Miami River and the underlying buried valley aquifer system drain into the Ohio River, and Palestine is located in a completely separate aquifer system than the Great Miami River,” MCD General Manager MaryLynn Lodor said. “There have been some inaccurate reports of them being connected; they are not.”

“Our groundwater, the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer System, has significant natural barriers that separate it from Palestine’s groundwater system,” Lodor said. “These natural barriers effectively separate our groundwater from the groundwater in Palestine.”

The Great Miami River is also safe from any possible contamination, Lodor said.

“The Great Miami flows south in the Ohio River by gravity,” she said. “Water in the Ohio River is not physically able to flow upstream into the Miami Valley region.”

Water in the city of Troy has not been impacted in any way by the spill in Palestine, Water Department Superintendent Gary Evans II said. Troy’s water was tested for vinyl chloride and other toxic chemicals released in the spill on Feb. 8, five days after the accident in Palestine occurred.

“Troy chooses to sample monthly for vinyl chloride and other VOC’s in the finished water as well as production wells,” Evans said. “Feb. 8 was the last time we collected samples for VOC’s, in both the finished water and production wells.”

“Troy’s water meets or exceeds all requirements from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency,” he said. “This means we are low in chemical content, as can be seen on our water quality report posted at www.troyohio.gov/ccr.”

The Troy Water Department supplies approximately 5-million-gallons of drinking water per day, Evans said. Troy’s water is sourced entirely from groundwater in the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer.

“Most drinking water in the Miami Valley comes from the Great Miami Buried Aquifer system,” Lodor said. “Nearly all municipal public water systems in the Miami Valley get their water supply from groundwater. Exceptions include Sidney, Piqua, and Greenville, which get all or some of their water supply from surface water such as the Upper Great Miami River.”

The MCD also conducts regular testing of local groundwater for VOCs, using a network of 93 observation wells and 12 testing wells located throughout the area.

“In 2020, MCD conducted VOC testing at various groundwater locations,” Lodor said. “This included vinyl chloride.”

“In the testing we have completed, MCD has not found VOCs or vinyl chloride in groundwater, unless there has been some sort of a release or spill nearby,” she said.

Local residents can help protect Troy’s water supply by not dumping wastes down storm drains and reporting spills located in and around the well fields located east and west of the water treatment plant, Evans said.

“Troy is frequently monitoring our raw and finished water to ensure that residents are supplied the high quality of water they have come to expect,” he said.

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