Water companies say drinking water is safe - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Water companies say drinking water is safe following chemical spill

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The Louisville Water Company expects our drinking supply to remain safe. Other places don't look to the Ohio for water at all. The Louisville Water Company expects our drinking supply to remain safe. Other places don't look to the Ohio for water at all.
Brian Jackson Brian Jackson
A spokeswoman said in the coming days you might see the water in the reservoir in Crescent Hill that normally looks a little brown, turn a blackish color. A spokeswoman said in the coming days you might see the water in the reservoir in Crescent Hill that normally looks a little brown, turn a blackish color.

MADISON, IN (WAVE) - A plume of chemical spilled last week in West Virginia should be traveling through the Louisville area on the Ohio River starting early Friday morning.

The Louisville Water Company expects our drinking supply to remain safe. Other places don't look to the Ohio for water at all.

Way below the homes and vistas of Madison, Indiana an underground river flows.

"(Pumps) go down in the ground about 100 to 125 feet and pump water from an aquifer," said Madison Water Superintendent Brian Jackson. "The Ohio River doesn't influence the aquifer that's why it really doesn't affect us."

Seven pumps bring the water up from below the surface in Madison, at least 80 feet, and layer after layer of rock and sediment separate the river from the aquifer.    

"We test the water and then the pH in the wells to make sure that there is no influence from the river," Jackson said.

It's the same story at Indiana American Water that supplies the cities of Clarksville, Jeffersonville and New Albany as well as other rural companies in Southern Indiana. Spokesman Joe Loughmiller said Indiana American has a 100 percent groundwater system. Nothing comes from the Ohio. 

In Madison, Jackson said now the challenge is just getting that word out to customers.

"We started getting calls at the beginning of this week when it started really getting in the news a lot," Jackson said. "They wanted to make sure that their water wasn't contaminated."

The Louisville Water Company has gotten those same types of questions all week.

Thursday, a spokeswoman said in the coming days you might see the water in the reservoir in Crescent Hill that normally looks a little brown, turn a blackish color.

That's carbon to improve taste and color, but it's not out of the ordinary. The water company does similar treatments during any smell or taste issue, like summer droughts.

Louisville Water Company said the CDC says it's safe to drink the water with the chemical that spilled at 50 parts per billion. Spokeswoman Kelley Dearing-Smith said when the plume arrives in Kentuckiana, it should be at 5 to 20 parts per billion. She said once it goes through the filtering system, it will arrive at your faucet at undetectable levels.

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