By Beau Cline
It’s now been a month since the chemical spill from a train derailed into the Ohio river. It’s now causing major environmental problems within the Midwest. The 53 car pile up was a part of the Norfolk Southern freight train that was carrying a substantial amount of vinyl chlorine and other harmful chemicals. These chemicals have spilled into local waterways, and now continue to contaminate everything as it goes downstream.
One main concern has been the fear of contamination in our public drinking water. However, since then multiple water utilities have guaranteed it will affect the drinking water or public health at all. The chemicals are degrading as they go down stream, and can be filtered out by the time they reach Cincinnati, and Louisville.
The Ohio River valley Water Sanitation (ORSANCO) has taken charge of tracking the pollution caused by the wreckage. But concerns from the community keep flooding in with claims of pets dying from exposure to chemicals. “Butyl acrylate is a flammable, clear liquid with a strong, fruity odor even at low levels. Exposure can cause headaches, dizziness and nausea,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Butyl acrylate was found at higher concentrations than any other chemicals, however the levels were too low to create any health risks. “I think it’s very safe to say that since we’ve been tracking this we’ve seen very low concentrations,” said Richard Harrison, an executive at the ORSANCO has gone on record saying.
As this investigation continues the effect of this chemical spill on the environment will become clear. In the meantime the Ohio state government is committed to ensuring safety, and minimizing the environmental and public impact of this incident on the community.