Indiana City Takes Precautions Against Chemical Spill Traveling Downstream
Mar. 11, 1993
NEW ALBANY, Ind. (AP) _ The city of Evansville took precautions today against a spill of 65,000 gallons of a flammable chemical from an accident on the Ohio River.
Toluene, a colorless liquid used to make industrial solvents and gasoline, spilled Wednesday while it was being pumped from a barge into a factory in New Albany, about seven miles northwest of Louisville, officials said.
The chemical spewed into the river for three hours from a ruptured line owned by Itapco Corp., said Jeanne Ison, a spokeswoman for the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission in Cincinnati.
A chemical sheen 10 miles long formed in the river before the spill was noticed and the pumps were stopped, Ms. Ison said. Emergency crews recovered some of the toluene, but it hadn't been determined how much.
Toluene, which has a sharp odor, is hazardous to aquatic plants and animals and people who drink it, Ms. Ison said.
The spill occurred downstream from New Albany's water intake and was no threat to the city's water supply, Ms. Ison said. Evansville, 182 miles downstream, is the nearest downstream city to draw drinking water from the river. Its population is 125,000.
Mark Griese, water quality supervisor for Evansville, said the city was filling all its reserve tanks and will shut off its river intakes while the spill passes, probably Friday afternoon.
''We are able to monitor the water and detect for toluene in very minute amounts,'' he said. ''I think if we have to we can treat for it, but the river is very high and it is moving fast, so it ought to get by us pretty quick.''