Hancock Commission offers tips for people with water problems | News, Sports, Jobs


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NEW CUMBERLAND — The Hancock County Commission is offering some tips and reassurances for county residents who remain concerned about the quality of their drinking water after the train derailment and chemical spill in eastern Palestine, Ohio, three weeks ago.

“I know that the topic is on everyone’s lips”, Commissioner Eron Chek made the point during Thursday afternoon’s commission meeting.

The February 3 derailment prompted the evacuation of residents in both the eastern Palestinian community and nearby areas of western Pennsylvania. The burning of toxic chemicals to prevent an explosion from the rubble and other chemicals seeping into nearby waterways has caused concern among residents throughout the Ohio Valley.

In Weirton, on the afternoon of February 7, workers at the city’s water treatment plant discovered a plume of butyl acetylate, one of the chemicals found at the derailment site, in the Ohio River. By manipulating the city’s water sources and increasing treatment, city officials reported being able to keep any contamination out of the drinking supply.

The Weirton Area Water Board uses the HeadsUp smartphone application to notify water customers of any issues within the system.

The county commission has also issued an alert request, and Chek reported Thursday that a banner will be placed on the county’s website – hancockcountywv.org – to allow residents to register.

“It always runs and it works” said Chek.

As for water safety, Hancock County is served by three public service districts, which Chek says fall under the governance of the West Virginia Public Service Commission, although the district commission appoints PSD board members.

Of these, the Oakland Public Service District and Tomlinson Public Service District provide water supply services, while the Hancock County Public Service District provides wastewater treatment services.

According to posts on the Oakland PSD’s Facebook page on February 14 and February 21, no contamination from the train derailment was found in the PSD’s system. The PSD also conducts testing of their water at the recommendation of Hancock County Emergency Management.

The Tomlinson PSD has not offered any updates through their social media or website.

Chek also referred to the Oho River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, also known as ORSANCO.

“They monitor conditions outside of West Virginia,” Chek said, adding that the organization publishes results of its water tests on its website.

ORSANCO has set up a dedicated section of its website related to the train derailment in East Palestine. As part of its reports, ORSANCO notes that it has collected Ohio River samples from 30 locations between East Liverpool and Cincinnati. The latest tests show no presence of butyl acrylate or vinyl chloride in the Ohio River.

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