As you might have heard, there was a massive train derailment that occurred earlier in the month in Ohio. Some of the chemicals could have spilled into the Ohio River. Does Evansville have anything to fear when it comes to our drinking water?

(See latest updates at the bottom of this article)

About 50 cars on a Norfolk Southern Railroad train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, on February 3rd, while traveling from Illinois to Pennsylvania. NPR reports that ten of the 50 derailed cars contained hazardous chemicals including butyl acrylate, ethylhexyl acrylateand,  isobutylene, andvinyl chloride, all of which could have some serious side effects on people and the environment.

According to Newsweek:

Local news station WLWT reported on Monday that after the burn began, small amounts of the chemicals were identified in the Ohio River, which winds through or borders Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. It supplies more than 5 million people with drinking water. Meanwhile, states hundreds of miles away are also evaluating its water source to ensure it remains safe to drink.

So that begs the question: Do we here in the Evansville area have anything to worry about?

Will Evansville's Ohio River Supply Be Affected?

Evansville Water and Sewer Utility announced on Facebook today, what they are doing as a result of this chemical spill in the Ohio River. You can see what they say about the likelihood of Evansville's Ohio River supply being affected is in their response below:

EWSU CHEMICAL SPILL RESPONSE: Evansville Water and Sewer Utility is continuing to follow the data provided from other utilities in our Spill Detection Network.
EWSU was notified of a chemical spill in Ohio by ORSANCO Friday, February 3, and is receiving updates based on sampling from sites within the Spill Detection Network.
Evansville’s drinking water intake structure sits at ORM 791.5, around 700 river miles away from the spill. Based off of the time between detection at Weirton, WV and Wheeling, WV, we would not see contamination from this type of spill for several weeks (dependent on river conditions).
The likelihood that we would detect anything by the time it reached us is very slim, and the spotty detections from the Wheeling plant indicate that the contaminant is being diluted to the point of non-detection in the river and strengthens the hypothesis that we would not see contamination at our site.
However, the Utility is continuously testing and staying vigilant of the river conditions. In the event of detection close to us, EWSU will use carbon to absorb the contamination.
So, it appears that they are confident that we will see any contamination, but they do have a solid plan in place if that were to happen. Stay tuned. We will update this post if anything changes.

***UPDATE***

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I find looking back on the way things used to be fascinating. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I'm living through the current time period. The conveniences of answering any question we have in seconds, or ordering practically anything we want or need and having it delivered to our doorstep is pretty sweet. But, there is something fun about seeing how things around us have evolved. As an Evansville native, and spending quite a bit of my time in downtown Evansville (that's where the station is located), I've always appreciated the older architecture of the buildings around the area. So, I dug into the Willard Library Archives to see how a few of those areas look now compared to then. Some have changed a little, others quite a bit, and a few don't even exist any more. Take a look.

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