Lately it is not just trains blowing up across the country in the ongoing effort to prove just how safer rail transport is for crude oil transit compared to pipelines: as citizens of Cincinatti found out this morning, their drinking water may come with an added kick after thousands of gallons of diesel fuel spilled out onto the Ohio River after an incident at a power plant early Tuesday. According to WCPO, the Coast Guard said it estimated about 8,000 gallons of fuel spilled out from Duke Energy’s W.C. Beckjord power station outside of Cincinnati.
The bad news for Ohians, especially those living in Cincinatti, is that the spill took place upstream, and rather close to the city:
The spill was first reported at about 12:20 a.m. Tuesday. The plant is about 20 miles southeast but upstream of Cincinnati. Duke Energy later released a statement saying the spill happened at about 11:15 p.m. Monday.
The company said the spill happened during a routine transfer of fuel oil. Duke estimated about 5,000 gallons was discharged into the river. Crews were able to stop the release by 11:30 p.m.
Duke said it notified local, state and environmental agencies promptly to take action.
“We notified state and local authorities of the incident and have been working with them throughout the overnight hours,” Chuck Whitlock, Duke Energy president of Midwest Commercial Generation and vice president of gas operations, said in a release. “We have cleanup crews on site that are identifying the appropriate actions that will be needed to remediate.”
Surprisingly, it is America after all where nothing is every anyone's fault, Duke Energy stepped up and admitted it was accountable:
Duke Energy assumed responsibility for the cleanup and Coast Guard officials said a spill response organization has been contacted to begin operations. The Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency said the spill happened when a secondary containment unit failed to contain the fuel when it was released due to an open valve.
Officials said the fuel ran down a hill before entering the river.
HCEMA officials said Coast Guard crews could detect a sheen and detect a diesel odor for about 1 to 2 miles downstream of the facility.
Officials said the Clean Harbors cleanup organization dispatched three boats to recover the fuel.
So now that we know who's responsible, the question is what happens to the drinking water:
Waterworks officials said water quality scientists are monitoring the river, along with the Northern Kentucky Water District, to determine whether the water is safe. Workers said the agencies will continue to take water samples until the threat is determined to be gone. Tony Parrott, head of Greater Cincinnati Water Works, said the department was notified of the spill just after midnight.
Parrott said crews shut down the Ohio River intakes quickly so none of the spill was taken in. He said they expected the spill would arrive at the waterworks at about 7 a.m.
Others, however, such as Cincinatti.com decided that there is no time like the present to ease people's minds, and promptly reported that despite the thousands of spilled gallons, it is ok to drink the water:
Parrott says that reserves were near capacity and Water Works will be able to remain operating with the river intakes closed for some time.
Due to the reserves, drinking water is safe.
Or in other words, buy the drip.