No water problems found after IEI fire

PARKERSBURG — Testing of local water ways and sources has continued in the aftermath of the IEI Plastics warehouse fire that burned Oct. 21-29 with no major problems found.

The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Public Health and others have been monitoring water quality after the fire. People were concerned that runoff from the site could flow into the Little Kanawha River, which is adjacent to the site, and eventually reach the Ohio River.

“Regarding the Ames fire, ORSANCO staff conducted a longitudinal survey on October 27 starting at Ohio River mile 184 (just upstream of the Little Kanawha confluence) and extending down to RC Byrd Lock and Dam at ORM 279,” said Lisa Cochran, ORSANCO communications coordinator. “These samples were analyzed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by West Virginia American Water and semi-volatile organics (SVOCs) by GCWW.

“No VOCs or SVOCs were detected in any of the Ohio River samples,” Cochran said.

ORSANCO only did testing on Oct. 27, Cochran said.

West Virginia American Water continuously monitors water quality through online source water monitoring panels at its Huntington water treatment plant and runs additional advanced analytical testing as part of ORSANCO’s Organics Detection System (ODS), Cochran said.

Lawrence Messina, director of communications for West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, said it is highly unlikely that runoff from the IEI site would have entered Parkersburg’s raw water source.

“The IEI site is located outside of Parkersburg’s wellhead protection area and downstream of its wells along the Ohio River,” he said. “Surface water sampling was collected in the Little Kanawha and Ohio rivers at various locations from the site to the West Virginia American Water Co.’s Huntington intake.”

The sampling was performed by ORSANCO and West Virginia American Water Co.

“The testing did not indicate the presence of contaminants from the IEI warehouse fire in the Ohio River,” Messina said.

The testing in the river has ceased, Wood County Commission President Blair Couch said Thursday.

“They stopped testing the Ohio River because they didn’t see any off-flow,” he said.